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FirstHealth of the Carolinas
FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center By Amy Avery

"I hate to see my wife and buddies on the golf course without me,” says a jovial Bill Burke of Wagram. “So I do what I have to do to get out there.”

Until recently, doing what he had to do to get on the golf course included traveling to Fayetteville to get treatment for his debilitating back pain. The 70-year-old Burke has since discovered the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center at Moore Regional Hospital.

“It’s been an amazing success story for me, and it’s only 20 minutes from home,” Burke says.

Nationwide, the treatment of pain has evolved into its own sub-specialty, called pain management. Over the past year, Moore Regional’s pain clinic has undergone its own evolution.

Last year, the center moved to newly renovated space in the Specialty Centers Building at Memorial Drive and Page Road in Pinehurst. Earlier this year, it adopted the name the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center.

“This reflects our focus on the most common areas for pain, though we still treat a wide variety,” says Tracy W. Overton, R.N., Specialty Centers supervisor.

In another change, patients can now refer themselves for treatment.

“There are so many causes of pain and so many ways to treat it that patients often simply don’t know where to go,” says Paul J. Kuzma, M.D., the center’s co-medical director. “We become the patients’ entry point for care, helping them understand how and where to get relief.”

The eight board certified physicians of Pinehurst Anesthesia Associates and the center’s nursing staff all have specific training in pain management techniques.

“We start with the least invasive therapies, such as simple exercises and stretches,” says Dr. Kuzma. “As necessary, we graduate to more aggressive approaches, including medications and even surgery.”

Sometimes the staff’s focus extends beyond pain management. “After my accident, I had trouble finding any doctor who would treat me and some told me I should expect to live with the pain,” says Williams Cummins, 38, of Laurel Hill. “The pain center’s staff not only treated me for pain, but helped me find a general practitioner and someone to treat my kidney stones.”

Cummins has used a wheelchair since a car accident caused major spinal cord injuries more than 10 years ago. “With the pain center staff, it’s not just about the pain at hand, but the whole person,” he says.”

For more information on the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center, call (800) 213-3284.