A Novel Approach To Treating Patients Suffering With Injury-Related Pain
Injury Treatment Solutions offers comprehensive care under one roof to car accident victims and others suffering physical pain
Patients walking into Injury Treatment Solutions in Melbourne are in for a unique experience when they meet Dr. Mitch Greenberg.
Having undergone 20 orthopedic surgeries himself, some of which went horribly wrong, Dr. Greenberg knows what it’s like to walk in his patient’s shoes. The pain, the anxiety … they’re hardly foreign feelings to him. In fact, it’s helped him strengthen not only the way he identifies with his patients, but also the way he treats them.
“The one benefit of my experiences is that I understand what my patients go through like nobody else does … because I’ve been there,” says Dr. Greenberg. “If you have never had what your patients have had, how would you possibly know what they’re feeling, mentally and physically?”
TREATING THE ROOT CAUSE OF PAIN
With 27 years of experience as a chiropractor, Dr. Greenberg has the skills to not only find out what is really causing back pain, but the intelligence and moral fortitude to conclude whether the patient truly needs Chiropractic and or conservative treatment at his office or if they need to be referred out to the appropriate specialist or medical doctor for treatment — because that ailment could have a different source.
Though he is a chiropractor, Dr. Greenberg describes Injury Treatment Solutions as a medical office that combines orthopedics, neurology and physical therapy. Chiropractic treatments are just one of many tools available in the care of a patient, but only when it is medically necessary.
“If you go to a bad or narrow minded podiatrist, whatever your complaint is, they’re going to find a foot problem,” he says. “If you go to a bad or narrow minded dentist, they’re going to find a tooth problem. If you go to a bad or narrow minded surgeon, they’re going to find something to operate on. If you go to a bad or narrow minded chiropractor, the thought is, they’re going to find something to crack. That’s what people think and sometimes, unfortunately sometimes, they are right.
“That really should not be the case. I could get 10 patients who walk in our office, and they all could have the same complaint – back pain. We might only accept and treat two of them.”
Kidney stones, urinary tract infections and abdominal aortic aneurisms are just three conditions where back pain is a symptom, but chiropractic treatment is hardly the right solution. One of the first symptoms of Prostate Cancer is “sciatica.” In those cases, patients are referred to the appropriate medical specialist. The ability to make that diagnosis, which serves the best interest of the patient and not the doctor’s pocketbook, is something Dr. Greenberg and his staff take great pride in.
Considering that when he started out, medical doctors and chiropractors didn’t even talk to each other, it has also been a way for Dr. Greenberg to establish himself in the medical community. To that point, 70 percent of his practice comes from referrals from medical doctors.
Not only do local medical doctors take comfort in knowing that the chiropractors at Injury Treatment Solutions are well trained to know “what not to treat” as they are at knowing “what to treat” but, having a medical doctor in his office helps, too. Steven Vanderby, M.D., who has his own family practice, spends 30 hours a week at Injury Treatment Solutions handling musculoskeletal cases.
“There are certain things I can’t do. I can’t prescribe medication,” says Dr. Greenberg. “If my patients are in a ton of pain, I’d like to be able to have that ability. The other thing about bringing in a medical doctor was it made the other medical doctors in the community feel more comfortable because they were referring from an M.D. to an M.D.”
If that doesn’t set Injury Treatment Solutions and Dr. Greenberg apart, there are the lessons from his own medical experiences that have helped shape his own practice. Having a total knee reconstruction done (on the wrong knee) and three back surgeries (two in the past year alone) that had some painful, unnecessary complications, made him come to the conclusion that patients needed an advocate.
That’s why every patient is assigned a staff member whose job it is to “make sure everything goes the way it’s supposed to.” That means making sure they understand everything, answering any questions and even solving any transportation issues that may arise.
BREAKING THE MOLD
Through the years, Dr. Greenberg has developed a niche. More than 90 percent of his patients have been in a car accident. It is a subject he is passionate about. Then again, giving patients the kind of care they won’t find anywhere else is what Dr. Greenberg is all about.
Not to say that there aren’t a lot of excellent doctors and chiropractors in the area but, “I don’t think anybody can care, or take better care of their patients than we do,” he says. “I just don’t think it’s possible. We treat every single patient like they are our best friend, and I don’t know how to do it any other way. All of our doctors and staff are the same way or they don’t fit into the culture of Injury Treatment Solutions and can’t work here.
“I don’t even let my doctors know whether our patients have insurance or not. Why should they care? That’s not your concern. Just go in the room and do the right thing. Treat the patient as if they were your best friend or a family member. We have other staff that will take care of the rest of that (stuff).”
Dr. Greenberg tells each of his patients the first time they meet one simple thing: “Our goal is to get me out of your life as quickly as possible.” That of course means determining the proper course of treatment. However, it doesn’t stop there. Every two weeks, a class is held for new patients and those closest to them. One goal is to teach everyone to learn the right and wrong way to do things at home. The other is to help friends and family understand just how bad the person is hurt and to hopefully create a support group.
Now, where else are you going to get treatment like that?
“All of these things combined separate us,” says Dr. Greenberg. “I don’t know any (other) place that does it like this. At the same time, I don’t understand why anybody would do it any other way.”
WHAT SETS INJURY TREATMENT SOLUTIONS APART FROM THE REST?
- The office, which caters almost exclusively to car accident victims, is virtually a one-stop shop for patients who come to 1747 Evans Road. With a medical doctor, physical therapy and chiropractors working as a team all under the same roof, patients don’t have to go to several different offices to see each kind of doctor.
“The challenge of a car accident is that they’re really hurt, and it’s multiple injuries – neck, back, shoulder, knee,” says Dr. Mitch Greenberg. “I like that challenge, and we have the ability to treat it because we have so many tools here. We have physical therapy, we have physical rehabilitation exercise equipment and staff and we have a medical doctor. Everything short of surgery, we can do.”
- There are two X-ray machines on site. One is your traditional, or static, X-ray machine where you take a deep breath and stand still, while the other is a motion X-ray that operates almost like a camcorder. Taking video of the patient doing the kind of activity that hurts can offer a different view the static X-ray and Dr. Greenberg says he has found fractures using the motion X-ray that don’t show up on regular film.
- At least 70 percent of referrals come from medical doctors who are primary care physicians who do not accept auto insurance, or do not treat car accident victims.
- Just because you have back pain or neck pain or related symptoms does not necessarily mean you need to be manipulated by a chiropractor. The staff at Injury Treatment Solutions will evaluate each patient on an individual basis to determine the best course of treatment. If the cause of the pain is caused by some underlying medical condition, that patient is referred to the proper medical doctor for treatment.
- Every two weeks, Dr. Greenberg hosts a class for his new patients who are encouraged to bring along people close to them, like family and friends. He teaches the right and wrong way to do things at home – how to bend, how to lift, positions to sleep, etc. That way people don’t go home and ruin what is trying to be fixed.
- Dr. Greenberg has started doing a monthly lecture series for the geriatric community called “Breakfast with the Doctor” and has lined up guest speakers. He is also planning a lecture series for lawyers about the seriousness of “soft tissue injuries that don’t show up on X-ray or even MRI” and the severity of even low-speed crashes with little to no damage to the car.
- One of Dr. Greenberg’s main points is that just because the car wasn’t totaled, just because the person isn’t confined to a hospital bed … does not mean they are not hurt. In fact, just because an X-ray or an MRI is negative also in no way means that a patient isn’t injured. Even today, modern medical science does not have the technology to show or diagnose pain. For instance, you could have the most severe and debilitating headache, and right now there is no known medical technology or test to show or identify your pain. The point is that just because medical science hasn’t developed the technology to show your pain doesn’t mean that you are not hurting.
“People frequently unfairly look at people who have been in car accidents as if they’re the people who are faking it – the ambulance chaser kind of thing, people who just want (to file) a lawsuit,” he says. “And there are those people. You can figure them out in two seconds. But, most people are honest and are truly hurt and require care.
“… The thing that’s frustrating about (most of the legitimate) patients is that, if you look at them, they look fine. If they’re not wearing a cast or a back brace or neck collar, you can’t tell if somebody is hurt or even has a herniated disc. It doesn’t mean they’re not hurt, just because they look OK.”