Pain No Longer “in Charge,” Thanks to New Clinic for Medicaid Patients

February 9, 2018 4:41 pm

James Hudson, MD, Recognizes Each Unique Story Behind Chronic Pain

James Hudson, MD

“When you let pain be your focus, your pain is in charge,” said James Hudson, MD, medical director of a new pain clinic offered for Medicaid patients of Mercy Health Physician Partners that opened in early 2018.

Located at the Heartside Health Center at 359 Division Ave. S, in Grand Rapids’ Heartside Business District, the Mercy Health Physician Partners Heartside Pain Clinic focuses on the specific needs of Medicaid patients within Mercy Health Physician Partners’ base, with special attention paid to our homeless patients.

As a widely underserved population, homeless people in our communities often struggle with chronic pain concerns, in addition to experiencing substance disorders and mental health issues.

After recognizing that “each of our homeless patients is special and has their own story, we can’t treat them with a ‘one-size fits all’ approach,” Hudson and his team have created a rehabilitative, comprehensive approach to dealing with and treating chronic pain.

Alongside Hudson, who has 25 years of experience as a pain specialist, the clinic employs an

  • occupational therapist,
  • a physical therapist,
  • a nurse case manager
  • and a social worker.After Hudson initially evaluates the patient to determine what pain medications and techniques the patient is using, the rest of the clinical team works directly with the patient several times a week to address the person’s chronic pain. The clinic’s social worker, Jacques Green, LMSW, CAADC, is trained on the use of biofeedback, a technique used to learn to control one’s functions of the body, including chronic pain.

By also incorporating mental health and substance disorder aspects of care, this integrated approach for chronic pain means that patients will not have to worry about struggling with these issues alone or not getting the additional treatment they need. Patients “graduate” from the program within about three to six months, with the goal of improving their everyday functioning either without any opioid use or with dramatically reduced use.

“Everyone’s personal life goals are different,” said Hudson. “For some, it’s getting back to work. For others, it can be as simple as being able to dress themselves in the morning.”

Contrast the clinic’s approach to pain to the trend in medicine over the past 20 years, where the focus on treating pain has been medical interventions, such as the introduction of – or use of — opioids. In 2016, it was reported that one in three Americans was prescribed opioids that year, with our country being prescribed 80 percent of the world’s opioids. Over-prescription of opioids has led to the current opioid epidemic experienced across all socio-economic demographics throughout the nation.

Hudson recognizes that the pain and the fear of that pain is real: “People fear pain, and that fear can escalate the pain. By taking away that fear, the pain loses its control over you.

“Many are afraid they will never get their lives back. We want our patients to focus on their lives, not on their pain.”

For more information, please visit the website or call Kailey Geldhof at 616. 685.3838.



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