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The Assuaging Touch of ‘Dr. Pain-Killer’

Thiruvananthapuram: What is pain? According to International Association for Study of Pain (IASP), ‘pain is what the patient say hurts.’ It is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage. In other words, pain is a somatopsychic phenomenon and is modulated by the

Thiruvananthapuram: What is pain? According to International Association for Study of Pain (IASP), ‘pain is what the patient say hurts.’ It is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage. In other words, pain is a somatopsychic phenomenon and is modulated by the patient’s mood, morale and the meaning of pain to him or her. Any pain which lasts more than three months is defined as ‘chronic pain.’

Expert doctors say that pain in human body, especially when it impedes mobility, may even lead to depression and other psychological issues. However, people are not yet aware of pain-relief medication. Here’s where Dr. A M Aksar – who runs Epione Pain Clinic at Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvananthapuram – is trying to make a difference. His target audience are patients who suffer pain from post-trauma, post-operative, geriatric and other orthopaedic conditions.

Dr. Aksar completed MBBS from Yenepoya University in Mangaluru and worked at the ICU of SP Fort Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram for two years. Realising his interest in Anaesthesia, he joined for MD in Anaesthesiology at AJ Institute, Bengaluru. After completing the programme and he worked with the Super Specialty Block of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College for a year. Currently, he is working with NIMS Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

The career-changing moment in his life came during a regular consultation session at the hospital. “In 2016, a cancer patient approached me with severe back pain. There’s a small anaesthesia procedure by which the doctor administers a mild epidural to help reduce such kinds of pain. I was touched by the feel of tremendous relief on her face after the procedure. That was when I started thinking seriously about pain-relieving procedures in medical sciences,” he said.

Interventional pain clinics are relatively new to Kerala. Dr.Aksar takes the example of knee pain to explain further. The surgical option to fix a painful, worn-out knee is Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery. “If a patient comes at a very early stage it is possible to mitigate the knee problem to a large extent, through modification and regeneration,” he says.

Dr. Aksar uses platelets harvested from the patient’s blood to make Platelets Rich Plasma (PRP), bone marrow aspirate and stem cells to regenerate the worn-out parts joints in knee, hip, Sacroiliac joint, shoulder and other arthritic joints. He uses imported, FDA approved machine (HARVEST) for processing all the above procedures.

Due to obesity and overweight, even younger people complain about knee-related problems. The absence of proper exercise and medication in such cases makes TKR surgery inevitable. But Dr. Aksar says that TKR surgery offers relief only for a decade or so, after which the patient starts experiencing the problems again.

“We recommend TKR surgery to only those who are above 60 years of age. They will be able to lead a comfortable life after the surgery. If a patient at 40 undergoes TKR surgery, she will start suffering the pain again after a decade,” he says. Further, he opines, only professionally trained surgeons alone should conduct TKR surgeries. “Now, most of the orthopaedics seem to be doing it. Earlier, the failure rate was about 20 per cent. Now it has risen to 35 per cent. So what happens is people will start losing trust in medicine,” says Dr. Aksar.

Cooled RF Ablation
So what can be done if knee-joint pain is not reduced even after undergoing TKR surgery? Dr. Aksar performs Cooled Radio Frequency (RF) Ablation, a patented technology from the US, in such cases. “It is the best solution for joint, bone and arthritis-related pains in old age.” he adds. Dr. Aksar signs off by warning the general public against the use of non-prescribed ‘pain-killer’ tablets. A major reason for liver and renal dysfunction at early stages is the unwarranted use of non-prescribed analgesics, he cautions.

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