Dr. Wei Xu believes that the foundation for managing a patient’s pain or functional deficit is conducting an extremely thorough assessment.
“Many times, patients with back pain, limb pain or joint pain can benefit from visiting a physiatrist first,” said Dr. Xu. “Patients with musculoskeletal pain often have good outcomes being treated conservatively and will benefit from being seen by a physiatrist right away.”
Dr. Xu, a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, joined the medical staff at Bacharach in 2012. Dr. Xu has expertise in electrodiagnostic testing for neuromuscular disorders as well as management for conditions such as muscle pain, joint pain, neck and back pain, and tendon/ligament issues.
Dr. Xu explained, “A physiatrist is a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor.” He is one of five physiatrists at Bacharach who help patients with spasticity, post-polio, pain management, EMGs, musculoskeletal injuries, gait dysfunction, debility, MS, Parkinson’s disease, weakness from stroke or spinal cord injury and other conditions.
Working together as part of a multidisciplinary team, Bacharach physiatrists provide evaluation, diagnosis and treatment options. They work with physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, nurses, case managers and other team members. They oversee each patient’s plan of care and provide comprehensive interdisciplinary programs.
“I believe in a multidisciplinary approach for patient’s treatment and functional restoration. When we treat a patient with pain we provide a thorough evaluation first and then provide a comprehensive treatment plan. This plan may include therapy, a home exercise program, ultrasound guided interventional procedures, botox injections or nerve blocks if spasticity is involved, and non-narcotic medications when necessary. Most patients have a pain condition that is treatable without utilizing narcotic medications.” Dr. Xu tries to seek a balanced plan for chronic pain conditions, including psychological support when indicated. He explained, “Chronic pain is a condition that needs to be dealt with through a variety of methods.”
He shared, “For common lower back pain we would develop a protocol with a focus on strengthening the core muscles as well as stretching exercises to maintain flexibility. We may also incorporate a home exercise program, depending on the needs of the patient.”
Physiatrists see patients for many conditions as well as for pain and chronic pain.
“We see a broad spectrum of patients in both the hospital and outpatient setting for issues related to stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, falls, motor vehicle accidents, as well as pain conditions.”
No matter what the underlying cause of a patient’s pain may be, Dr. Xu believes in physical and/or occupational therapy and development of a different protocol and program for each individual patient.