“Unfixable Back” Patient Finds Pain Relief

Vandergrift resident Frank Gatto has a congenital, unfixable problem with his back—scoliosis and three herniated disks. Over the years, his pain has worsened, making it nearly impossible to sleep or stand upright.

Slowly, Frank was losing his ability to function, but fortunately, a neurosurgeon’s recommendation that he see a pain medicine specialist changed his life.

“I didn’t want to rely on pain pills,” notes Frank.

“And I wanted to be able to work if possible,” he adds. “So I went to see Dr. Cope and life got better.”

Initially, Pittsburgh-area anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist Doris K. Cope, MD, injected medication into the painful areas in Frank’s back, which helped for a while. She then suggested the Racz procedure which releases some of the scar tissue from around entrapped nerves in the epidural space of the spine, so that medications can reach the affected areas.

Frank receives three consecutive treatments, one month apart. Then he waits six months until treatment can resume.

“Being able to talk with your doctor makes such a difference. Explaining pain is hard, but a pain medicine specialist understands. I would never have been able to do half of what I do now without treatment.”


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