Dr. Matthew Michaels is a full-time PM&R (physical medicine and rehabilitation) physician, weekend warrior enjoying the Pacific Northwest and all-around champion of wellness. Learn more about RestorePDX’s Dr. Michaels and why he could be the right healthcare professional for you:
What is your educational background?
I received my B.S. from the University of Albany and received my M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia. At the Medical College of Virginia, I was a member of the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. I hold a board certification from the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
I – and my peers – consider myself an expert in the integration of multiple disciplines, including orthobiologic medicine, manual physical therapy, exercise therapy, massage and chiropractic.
Why did you pursue physical medicine and rehabilitation?
Human movement has always fascinated me. Physiatry presents the best pathway for the study of movement and treatment of patients through a better understanding of how normal and abnormal movement impacts musculoskeletal (MSK) health. I was fortunate to graduate at the top of my class in medical school, giving me the opportunity to pick from multiple specialties and I ultimately chose PM&R.
How did you begin to incorporate regenerative medicine and interventional orthopedics into your practice?
I became immersed in regenerative medicine and interventional orthopedics after nearly three decades of training and practice in conventional interventional physiatry. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the limitations of conventional treatment paradigm. Even the most precise corticosteroid injections are inherently the wrong approach for the vast majority of painful MSK conditions. Steroids relieve pain by blocking inflammation. The fact of the matter is inflammation is a part of the normal healing process, thus even a “successful” cortisone injection can impair healing and even accelerate degeneration.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of physicians in my field are still limited to the use of steroid injections, other types of nerve blocks, addictive medication and physical therapy for the treatment of MSK conditions. Only one percent of U.S. physicians are trained in precise regenerative medicine injection techniques. After 27 years of practicing medicine, I decided to join Dr. Desai and pursue training in interventional orthopedics through the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation in order to move my practice out of the conventional space and into interventional orthobiologic medicine.
Is there a reason this area of medicine hits so close to home?
I have a very long history of low back pain. After many trials and errors, I found my path to living a vigorously athletic, healthy life despite the initial chronic pain. The obstacles I have overcome to find pain relief has inspired me to help others find the same relief that allows them to get back to their everyday lives and the activities they are passionate about .
If someone is considering reaching out to RestorePDX for the first time, what do you want them to know to help solidify their decision to visit the practice?
At our core, RestorePDX offers a holistic treatment to help relieve your pain today and lessen tomorrow’s pain. The full-service, hands-on treatment plan includes:
– A treatment paradigm that doesn’t just focus on your pain, but on how your pain impacts your life, your function and your general health.
– A clear precise diagnosis.
– A clear understanding of your pain and the multiple contributing factors to the pain.
– A multidisciplinary treatment plan to help you achieve long-term success and independence.
– An understanding of how even the most successful regenerative treatment must be combined with a comprehensive program of behavior modification and exercise in order to achieve the optimal outcome.
If they’re solely looking for cortisone injections, you will be coming to the wrong place.
What are some of the treatments you perform at RestorePDX?
A few of my specialties for minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures include:
Percutaneous trigger finger release: This in-office, non-surgical procedure – an alternative to a commonly used surgical release – uses a needle to release the painfully constricted tendon sheath in a finger or thumb.
Radiofrequency ablation: Using electrical currents, radio waves will heat nerve tissue, eliminate transmission of pain signals to the brain, thus decreasing pain for those suffering from chronic low-back pain, neck pain and pain related to the degeneration of joints.
MILD procedure: This innovative procedure assists with lumbar decompression, thus aiding in pain relief in the lower back, legs and buttocks. Rather than more invasive spine treatments, this is made possible through an incision smaller than an inch.
Intracept procedure: A small three to five mm incision in the lower back is positioned at the pain-sensing, basivertebral nerve. Using radiofrequency heat, the nerve is disabled, thus decreasing pain for those suffering from chronic low back pain.
TENEX procedure: This breakthrough technology treats painful tendon problems through a minimally invasive “band aid” procedure. The TENEX needle vibrates at 26,000 hertz loosening damaging tissue, while circulating saline water through the area. The saline facilitates removal of the loosened, damaged tissue.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job in terms of treating patients?
Treating the most challenging of patients is so fulfilling for healthcare professionals. Few things in life give me more satisfaction than to have a patient who has had poorly treated pain for years achieve meaningful relief and return to function under my care.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job in terms of the people you work with?
I enjoy helping my staff grow in their careers and assisting them in a better understanding of RestorePDX’s mission and offerings. At the end of the day, it’s important to have the staff see how they are contributing to our patients’ success.
What is one thing people would find surprising about the treatments offered at RestorePDX?
We put a lot of work into our patients’ treatments behind-the-scenes, work that patients don’t pay for, to greatly assist in stem cell and platelet injections.
Now for the more fun questions… What do you in your free time?
I maintain a very healthy lifestyle. I enjoy practicing yoga, skiing, competing in Ironman Triathlons, hiking, swimming – all of which is made possible through physical medicine and rehabilitation.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
My ideal day off is spending time with my wife and our pets, we have three dogs and one cat, and enjoying all the wonderful things the Pacific Northwest has to offer from the beautiful landscapes to the amazing food, wine and beer.
If you’re looking to address your chronic pain or get ahead of the pain, contact Dr. Michaels at RestorePDX today.