Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Iran, where I first attended medical school. When I moved to the U.S., I had to begin my medical education from scratch at an undergrad medical school in Oregon. After graduating, I began training as a neurosurgeon. I soon realized this was not the field I wanted to devote my life to, so I switched directions and became a neurologist. However, because of my interest and skills in procedures, I found interventional pain management best suited for my career. After completing a fellowship in interventional pain management and anesthesiology, I met Dr. Kasra Amirdelfan, who was running a clinic in Walnut Creek, we eventually formed a partnership, and gradually I took over his practice.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I love soccer, but I don’t play as much as I used to due to various injuries in my youth. Nowadays, I like trying new things. I have spent more of my free time playing tennis, hiking, and swimming. I am also a seasoned classical guitar player.
What made you decide to join Boomerang Healthcare (BHC) in Walnut Creek?
I was inspired to join the Walnut Creek Clinic by Dr. Amirdelfan. His multidisciplinary infrastructure and in-depth research on chronic and acute pain management were particularly intriguing. I wanted to be exposed to the unique model of care that Boomerang Healthcare (BHC) provides, which includes a broad range of services, including advanced interventional pain management procedures, psychological counseling, and a functional restoration program (FRP) for chronic pain patients.
What types of medical treatments do you specialize in?
I specialize in neurology and interventional pain management. I have set up my practice to be more focused on treating the underlying causes of patients’ pain rather than getting them started on medications which would lead to many other issues down the line. I would say 90% of my practice is interventional pain management. The procedures I perform range from basic injections to more advanced interventional procedures, such as implanting spinal cord stimulators, peripheral nerve stimulators, and minimally invasive spine procedures such as SI joint fusions, interspinous spacers, basivertebral nerve ablation, minimally invasive lumbar decompression (mild), and so on.
Please tell me more about the new Intercept procedure with which you have had great success.
I have treated eight patients with this treatment who have had excellent results, and this is the procedure that I have consistently hit home runs with. As this treatment primarily treats degenerative spine disease, it’s not a specific injury that they have had, but rather a degeneration of their intervertebral discs over time and erosion of the disk into their vertebral bodies, causing a condition called vertebrogenic pain. Ten years ago, this condition did not exist because we did not know this basivertebral nerve existed in the bone. Now that we know this, we can treat more patients with this condition.
Are there any success stories of patients who have undergone the Intercept procedure?
I remember one patient who was wheelchair-bound, miserable, and dependent on several pain medications. The patient received a low dose of medication and was informed that Boomerang Healthcare’s goal is to find a healthier long-term solution to reduce her pain; for this, we needed a copy of her latest imaging studies, including an MRI of her lumbar spine. Several months passed when she returned with her daughter to ask for more medications which concerned me because the pain medications were only a temporary solution due to the adverse side effects. The patient and her daughter were notified that we could no longer treat her if she were unwilling to try other methods for pain relief. She decided to bring in her MRI, and from there, it was determined that the Intercept procedure would be the most beneficial for her case. The insurance company approved the procedure immediately. One week following the procedure, this patient, who previously used a wheelchair, was now barely using a walker, and the office staff was astonished upon seeing her drastic improvement. She had significant improvement not only in her pain but in her posture, her demeanor, self-care, and quality of life. The results were terrific. When the patient initially came in, she appeared miserable and unkempt. Now she is smiling, looking refreshed, and no longer needs a walker for ambulation.
Intercept has helped many other patients as well. Recently, a patient reported that she can now drive for extended periods of time comfortably for the first time in seven years. Due to the use of microscopic incisions, this treatment is not very painful. In the week following the treatment, patients experience only minor soreness in the incision area. The results of studies indicate that no patients have reported a recurrence of pain so far and are happy with the outcome.
How does Boomerang Healthcare differ from other clinics, and why do you enjoy working here?
As a team, we help patients return to a happy, healthy lifestyle and, in many cases, taper off medications that may have long-term negative side effects. It is rewarding to see patients learn new healthy ways to decrease and cope with their pain, which improves their overall quality of life. My desire to join Boomerang Healthcare was primarily motivated by the multidisciplinary approach to helping patients heal, the vast available resources, and their desire to find better ways to alleviate pain. Pain is not simply viewed through one lens, there are many factors to consider when determining a treatment plan. BHC’s model of patient care provides various options and resources for managing acute and chronic pain, allowing us to provide the best care to each patient, which makes me grateful to be part of this group.