Pain management specialist Dr. Robert McMyne Jr brings a diverse and unique background to his practice. Before attending medical school, he taught and coached football and baseball at local high schools for eight years. As a young football player he was injured and the treatment he underwent made an indelible impression. “I had to have steroid injections in my lower back,” he explained. “The doctors who treated me were wonderful and before long I was out of pain.” His pain was short-lived, but the interest in medicine that the experience sparked was long-lasting.
Dr. McMyne owes his holistic approach to his specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “When there is a problem, I prefer to get involved early on because that’s when we have access to the widest range of treatment methods.”
What ailment do you treat most frequently?
Back and neck pain due to osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage in the joints wears down over time so that bone is rubbing against bone. Often patients will come in with what they think is a bulging or herniated disc, when in reality, they are suffering from arthritis pain. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for arthritis. It’s my job to help these patients manage their pain.
What treatments are available to you?
I treat patients with narcotics and non-narcotic medications, physical therapy, topical medications and interventional methods such as epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, kyphoplasty, neurolytic blocks and spinal cord stimulators. I will also get psychological intervention to help with pain control when I believe it is indicated.
How do you collaborate with other physicians?
Typically surgeons, usually orthopedists and neurosurgeons, will refer their patients to me. I also get referrals from primary care physicians, which is fantastic because I really enjoy working on problems as soon as they arise. I can be most effective when I am involved at an early stage. That way I can treat the problem itself, rather than just the symptoms. I’m making a big push to treat pain earlier in its course as sometimes this may save a patient from having to undergo surgery.
Which cases most challenge you?
There are particular challenges with chronic narcotic patients: they typically have had a long history of pain and have exhausted all avenues so are relying solely on narcotics. Long-term narcotic usage can limit a patient’s mental acuity, can cause patients to build up a tolerance to the medications and, in some cases, can actually increase pain.
What recent medical advances have changed the way you practice?
There is a new minimally invasive method of lumbar decompression for patients with spinal stenosis. It allows us to essentially pinch off part of a ligament that has thickened near the spinal canal, causing stenosis (or narrowing) in that region. Additionally, topical compound pain creams have come a long way in recent years. I use these whenever I can because delivering medication in a topical form directly to the site of injury/pain helps patients avoid some of the systemic side effects they might experience from taking the medication orally.
How did you choose your specialty?
I wasn’t sure what I would specialize in when I began medical school. I was interested in orthopedics, but then I discovered physical medicine and rehabilitation and fell in love with it. It overlapped quite a bit with orthopedics, but included more of the outpatient work I was drawn to. I was a teacher, and I love the educational aspects of my job: teaching my patients why they’re in pain and how we can treat and manage it. I believe the more a patient understands his/her pain, the better we can take control and manage the pain. The best part of my job is when my patients come back and report that they are back doing some of the things they love to do because we were able to get better control of their pain.
4320 Houma Blvd., 5th Floor
Metairie, LA 70001
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, LSU New Orleans, 2012
Pain Medicine, LSU New Orleans, 2013
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
I apply a multi-disciplinary approach and tailor it to each patient.