A painless partnership: Pain & Spine Center docs Philip Blount and Edwin Dodd collaborate to ensure best possible outcome for patients

By Carey Miller

Dr. Philip Blount and Dr. Edwin Dodd

Hubert Cliburn of Pearl, Miss., didn’t waste any words when asked what the physicians at Methodist Pain & Spine Center did for him.

“They fixed me right up,” he said.

At 81 years old, Cliburn is semi-retired, but still works part-time at Avis Rental Car. When pain started to interfere with his job, he sought relief by visiting Dr. Philip Blount, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the center.

“I was having knee problems and back problems,” Cliburn said. “Dr. Blount took care of my knees, then he sent me over to Dr. Dodd for my back. So I’m still working.”

Blount guides care at the center, often referring patients to Dr. Edwin Dodd, an interventional pain management specialist whose practice focuses on back and neck pain.

“Dr. Dodd is great with patients, he’s high energy and he’s very kind,” Blount said. “His skill set is very broad and complements mine well.”

Blount says this allows Methodist Pain & Spine Center to offer non-surgical, non-narcotic solutions to most every type of pain.

“My practice’s expertise is in musculoskeletal nerves,” Blount said. “But when we identify nerves in the spine being the problem, we have Dr. Dodd right here in building. So we can talk, see patients together, and I can share with him my findings and recommendations. Then he can perform his skills right across the hall there.”

Cliburn’s issues required treatment from both physicians.

“We suspected a pinched nerve in the back going down his leg as part of Mr. Cliburn’s problem,” Blount said. “We also suspected his knee joints. We have non-surgical management for both those issues, and for an 81-year-old that is definitely good news.”

“Our collaborative effort allowed us to provide Mr. Cliburn treatment aimed directly at the source of his pain,” Dodd said.

Blount says that he first performs a clinical assessment to pinpoint the source of a patient’s pain.

“For patients over 65, we like to be extremely thorough,” Blount said. “We perform a history with emphasis on home function and safety. We do imaging to rule out any more severe problems. Fortunately for Mr. Cliburn, we found a very common situation of back arthritis irritating the nerves going down his legs. We confirmed that with electrodiagnostic tests, which I perform here at the clinic.”

“Dr. Blount’s findings are really what identified the source of this,” Dodd said. “That information made it easy for me to perform targeted injections into that area in his lower back.”

Blount also employed injections to relieve Cliburn’s knee arthritis.

“One option for knee problems is total knee replacement, but most patients would prefer to try something easier and simpler than that,” Blount said. “We like to avoid potent medications that can cause side effects in the elderly, so we elected to do safe viscosupplementation injections to manage his pain.”

Viscosupplementation is a non-steroid medication that helps cushion the knees to alleviate knee pain. It’s given with three injections spread out a week apart.

“Mr. Cliburn did very well,” Blount said. “He’s now more functional and able to remain active as a result, without any surgery or being placed on any long-term medication.”

“With our collaboration, we can keep about 60 percent of our patients out of the operating room, which to me is a wonderful thing,” Dodd said. “Dr. Blount is a very caring physician. He goes that extra mile for his patients to decide where the pain is coming from, then getting the right thing done for them.”

Cliburn agrees. “Dr. Blount has got a good bedside manner and he’s easy to talk to,” he said.