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A message from Peter Abaci, MD and John Massey, MD, the co-founders of the Bay Area Pain & Wellness Center (BAPWC).Dr. Massey decided to become a chronic pain management physician when he was teaching and practicing at Stanford University. He saw the problem that was associated with chronic pain in the community around him in the patients he was seeing and he wanted to help..Dr. Abaci decided to practice pain management as an anesthesia resident when he was given the challenge of trying to wake up each of his patients from anesthesia without any pain. As he pursued that as a career, and started working with not acute pain, but chronic pain and came to realize what a very complex process that was.

Pain Management in America is broken. Physicians and other clinicians are taught mainly to use medications and injections to find the pain generator and try to stomp out pain. The unfortunate thing about that model is it doesn’t work. It leaves patients helpless and dependent on a system that really doesn’t serve them well.

The typical person that comes to BAPWC has had some type of injury to their spine or extremedy. Often times, nerves have been damaged. Often times, people are on a lot of medications or have had a lot of injections or surgeries before even getting here. When Dr. Abaci or Massey meet some body for the first time they have a physical therapist go over a very thorough evaluation identifying where their structural problems are, identifying what we can do, to help them exercise again.

The purpose of our gym is to teach patients how to move again, how to restore their bodies and how to regain function back in their lives. So when a person is in pain, they are often afraid to move because it hurts and the purpose of our gym is to take them through a process so they can develop a comprehensive exercise program that they can use long term. People come in here in walkers and canes and they leave without them. We use a lot of yoga, chi gong and tai chi; teaching you that you can exercise again.

Art therapy for most people sounds really strange, but it’s magical. It’s a way of getting in touch with someone’s feelings and emotions and expressing them in a medium that’s different than talking about them. It’s very common to see some body with a horrible pain management problem that hasn’t been able to tell someone what’s going on with their body and yet all this information comes out and you can actually look at it together. Go over the art together and start problem solving how to fix it.Occupational Therapy is very important because we all need to function on a day-to-day basis. We need to be able to take care of ourselves. We want to be able to put our shoes on, comb our hair, and we want to look good. In order to do that and once we’ve been injured in a traumatic way we often need the training to be able to do these simple tasks once again.The goals of our center are simple: it’s to provide this type of care in this type of environment to as many people as possible.

We sincerely believe the way pain management is being practice by in large with medications and injections are wrong. Being anesthesiologists, they practiced that way and know very well what the end point is and there’s not hope there. The hope is actually in becoming free of the medical system, free of medications, free of the burdens of your disability and that is what we have at BAPWC.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man… Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.