Dr. Pravardhan Birthi recently opened Grand Island Pain Relief Center “because I wanted to be independent, and experience a private practice setting.”

The clinic at 403 Lexington Circle in Grand Island is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Birthi was born in Bangalore in southern India. After graduating from high school, he pursued a career as a doctor. After completing his training as a physician, he joined the army. He received his medical degree from Bangalore Medical College.

During his stint in the Indian army, he was exposed to crush, blast and gunshot injuries as a doctor on the frontline.

“Being able to help soldiers with their pain gave me immense satisfaction and motivated me to pursue specialty training in pain management,” Birthi said.

He said that while growing up in India, “the pain management field was unheard of.”

Birthi said he came to the United States to pursue further training in that field.

“I then completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation along with a pain management fellowship at the University of Kentucky in Lexington,” Birthi said.

After graduation, he came to Grand Island to work for St. Francis Medical Center.

“After completing my training, I was required to work in a rural setting due to the stipulations of my work visa,” Birthi said. “I found a position in my specialty field at St. Francis and applied for it. When I came here for an interview, I liked the hospital as well as the community and decided to join.”

He said St. Francis (now CHI Health St. Francis) was instrumental in the accomplishments he has made in his career.

“I have a good relationship with the hospital, and I will continue to work with them to provide the best possible services to my patients,” Birthi said.

He said he returns to India on a yearly basis to help train other physicians in pain management.

The clinic offers the following services:

— Epidural (cervical, lumbar and caudal) and transforaminal injections for lumbar DDD and lumbar radiculitis/radiculopathy;

— Chemical neuromuscular denervation (for example, Botox injection for spasticity related to stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and brain injury, and for cervical dystonia);

— Botox for migraine;

— Diagnosis and treatment of chronic and cancer-related pain;

— Injection of joint and bursa including sacroiliac joint;

— Lumbar facet blocks, medial branch block and radiofrequency ablation for lumbar spondylosis and lumbago;

— Cervical facet blocks, medial branch block and radiofrequency ablation for neck pain and headaches;

— Management of chronic headache, spasticity, cancer pain and neuropathic pain;

— Implantation of subcutaneous, epidural, intrathecal catheters and pump placement for spasticity and cancer pain (pain pump);

— Neuroablation with chemical, and radiofrequency modalities of peripheral nerve;

— Percutaneous implantation of neurostimulator electrodes (spinal cord stimulator) for post-laminectomy syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and other neuralgia;

— Peripheral, cranial, costal, plexus and ganglion nerve blocks;

— Low dose opioid therapy for chronic pain. Recognition and management of therapies, side effects and complications of pharmacologic agents used;

— Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) for lumbar canal stenosis with neurogenic claudication.

Birthi said pain interferes with a person’s emotions (such as anxiety and depression), activity and quality of life.

“When I am able to help manage that pain, it gives them the ability to live a happier and healthier life,” he added.

He said any person who is experiencing pain that is chronic, such as back and neck pain, headaches and joint pain should see a physician. He also said any person who has stiffness (spasticity) due to cerebral palsy, after a stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, should also seek treatment.

“Pain is not the same in every person, and the best treatment for each person varies,” Birthi said. “Management of chronic pain includes several modalities besides just medication. Physical activity and stretching are key steps in managing pain.”

Birthi said he practices a holistic approach to pain relief that uses a variety of approaches instead of relying on just medication.

In his multi-modal approach to pain management, medication usually ranks low as one of his priorities in pain relief.

This is Birthi’s seventh year practicing in Grand Island. He said when he decided to go into private practice, “I could have started anywhere.”

“I chose to stay here because my wife and kids are happy in this community,” Birthi said. “Grand Island is a great place to raise kids. I have also met a lot of nice people since coming to this area, and many of those won’t let me move.”

Birthi met his wife, Vandan Katyan, while serving in the Indian army. She is also a physician, but is currently not practicing. The couple have two children: Ayonya, 14, and Arushi, 11. They are both students at Grand Island Central Catholic.

For more information, visit the clinic’s website at www.giprc.org.

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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