Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Doctor: Dr. Michael Wolff

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PHYSIATRIST

Medical school: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Years in practice: 16

Why did you choose physical medicine and rehabilitation?
When I started at Georgetown, I was focused on orthopedic surgery. During my third year, I discovered physical medicine and rehabilitation, a specialty that focuses on non-surgical solutions to musculoskeletal and neurological injuries. It felt like a natural fit. I learned that while some patients need surgery, the vast majority of injuries could be treated non-surgically if they are identified correctly and treated with a comprehensive non-surgical plan.

How much of managing pain is drug-based, and what other methods of reducing pain do you use?
Managing painful conditions successfully is an art form that requires multiple modalities. Treatment may be initially aggressive to prevent pain from becoming chronic. Medications and injections are necessary at times to adequately control pain so the patient can participate in other forms of rehabilitation. My patients take an active role in their health and are given an individualized treatment plan incorporating a potential variety of non-surgical modalities beyond medications such as physical therapy, interventional care, acupuncture, massage and regenerative medicine to reduce their pain and make them more functional. Hopefully, this will prevent them from requiring medications in the long run. If a patient does not truly want to get better, be actively involved in their care, and all they want is their medications, then I am not the right doctor for them.

What's the most exciting recent medical advancement in your field?
Regenerative medicine is an all-natural alternative that utilizes properties of the patient's own body to heal itself. Several years ago, I started offering platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem-cell therapy as an experimental alternative for injuries. The results have been quite impressive.

What distinguishes your practice from others?
I genuinely care for my patients and feel passionate about what I do each day. I treat each patient like family and really listen to their problems. I believe each patient is unique, not just a number that needs another injection. This distinguishes my practice from the typical pain management practices.