Anaesthesiologist and Pain Management Specialist Dr. Karen Schmid.
Dr. Schmid performing a spinal nerve root block using X-ray on a patient with lower back pain.
CAY HILL--St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on Tuesday announced the start of its Pain Management Clinic and the addition of pain management to the current medical specialties offered.
In medicine, pain management falls under Anaesthesiology. During operations or in trauma, Anaesthesiologists use anaesthesia to treat acute pain. At the Pain Management Clinic and within the pain management specialty, the focus lies in treating patients who experience chronic (long-standing) benign pain and oncological (cancer) pain. Treatment options within the specialty aim to eliminate pain or to help patients achieve an acceptable level of pain in an effort to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Pain has an influence on a patient’s daily life. It can affect their mood, behaviour, condition, social life and their home and work life. Conversely, these also influence pain and as such, pain treatment is often multidisciplinary. A patient’s course of treatment is approached from different angles and discussed with different specialists and care providers such as Physical Therapists, Neurologists, Oncologists and others to ensure the best possible outcome suitable for the patient and their lifestyle.
Dr. Karen Schmid, an Anaesthesiologist/Pain Specialist, assisted SMMC in setting up the Pain Management Clinic. Schmid received her medical education in Suriname at the Anton de Kom University after which she went on to complete her residency in Anaesthesiology at the Academic Hospital in Paramaribo. She continued on in the Netherlands at the University Medical Center in Utrecht where she also completed her Chronic Pain Management training programme.
When asked what brought her to St. Maarten, Schmid replied “the beautiful nature especially the bright blue sea and the green hills that lure you to go for a hike. I am really enjoying the island and working at SMMC so far.”
SMMC’s Pain Management Clinic caters to patients experiencing chronic pain, spine-related pain (neck and lower back pain), oncological (cancer) pain, neuropathic (nerve) pain, fibromyalgia, facial pain, pain after shingles, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, previously called Dystrophy) and a host of other pain complaints that may affect a patient’s daily life.
The Pain Management Clinic offers different types of treatment options to decrease pain to an acceptable level, depending on the pain diagnosis and these include the use of pain medication, injections and nerve blocks and local treatments (for example Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation TENS).
“In my short time on the island, I’ve already observed chronic lower back pain to be a big health issue, just like in other parts of the world. It’s our goal at the clinic to help patients manage pain in ways acceptable for them and most important, to improve their quality of life,” she said.
Clinic hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm and patients who wish to make an appointment at the Pain Management Clinic must have a referral letter (no older than six months) from a General Practitioner (house doctor) or another specialist. Appointments can be made from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm by calling tel. (+1-721) 543-1111 extension 1378 or 1379.
The start of the Pain Management Clinic brings SMMC closer to its mission to providing quality care, close to home for the population of St. Maarten and the surrounding islands, SMMC said in a press release.