Board Certified Anesthesiologist with Subspecialty Certification in Pain Medicine
Introducing a new member of the Integrated Orthopedics team, Dr. Eric Boyd! We sat down with Dr. Boyd to dive into what he specializes in, his role in the Integrated Orthopedics team and why he loves what he does.
Q: Tell me about you!
“I am an anesthesiologist by training, I did some time in internal medicine, I did an internship in internal medicine, a residency in anesthesiology and pain management fellowship,” Boyd said. “For the last 22 years, I’ve practiced in east Mesa in a multi-specialist center which included physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral health, surgery and what I did. After 22 years because of COVID and economics, we had to shut that practice down and move on, and so I’m really happy to have found Integrated Orthopedics because it’s kind of the same model. I really like the idea of making people feel better but also helping them function better at the same time. It’s not just about doing procedures to make them feel better but also rehab to make them functionally better and back doing what they like to do.”
“I enjoy being busy, I’m a busy person,” Boyd said. “When it comes to exercise, I like mountain biking, skiing, and golfing. I enjoy being outside. I’m recently married, and I have three kids. One graduated and is a teacher, one is applying for med school and the other is applying for vet school.”
Q: What made you decide to become a pain specialist?
“I always liked the idea of being able to help people have less pain, whether it’s a simple acute injury like a sports injury or a car accident, or even someone who is dying of cancer. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of helping people with the pain that they have. It’s gratifying to do something like that, as opposed to other professions where sometimes you don’t see the outcome of what you do. It seems like that’s the most important thing to do as a physician or a healer, to actually get people out of pain. People can be so grateful for it, and it feels like an award. Instead of just seeing people for visits and giving them medications for high blood sugar or for diabetes, with pain management you can see people get better and get back to what they like to do. Even when people are dying, you can help them die with less pain which is dignifying.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I enjoy running people through programs,” Boyd said. “Programs are systematic so you can see people make progress toward their goals. If someone comes in with back pain, I can run them through a program and as time progresses, you can see them meeting goals and they are happier than ever. Some people, of course, feel like their pain is the end of the world, like they might be in a wheelchair for the rest of their life, and it’s nice being able to see them make progress and get back to what they love to do.”
Q: What made you choose to join the team at Integrated Orthopedics?
“I joined Integrated because it was much like the practice I’m leaving now in the sense that there are multiple specialists in one area with a rehabilitation department. Rarely do people come in with just one source of pain, usually they have multiple things causing pain. This allows them to take an approach that I can manage the back or hip pain, and then I can refer them to someone else that does other things that I do so we can get them feeling better when the time comes.”
Q: What are the most common pain issues you see/treat in your practice?
“Probably the most common one is lumbar spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spine that causes pain with standing and walking. So, people come in with issues standing and walking and they can’t make that trip to Europe, or they can’t walk around the block like they used to enjoy, or sometimes they can’t walk around the house.”
Here is a little more information about some of the common conditions Dr. Boyd often treats:
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the back. While it can happen at any point on the spine, it is most common in the lower back. This often causes pressure in the nerves located in the lower back and can cause pain, making it hard to stand, walk, run and move. Patients often find that leaning forward helps prevent pain and may even experience numbness in the legs because of the pressure on the nerves. Dr. Boyd treats lumbar spinal stenosis in a number of ways, including some new technologies he is excited to offer at Integrated Orthopedics, like Vertiflex and Minuteman. These options are minimally invasive options for at-risk patients who either can’t go through surgery or have already gone through surgery that didn’t give them the results they were hoping for.
Dr. Boyd often uses The Vertiflex™ Procedure to help manage pain related to lumbar spinal stenosis. This is a minimally invasive treatment option, using an interspinal spacer to create stability in the spine. Minimally invasive treatment options like The Vertiflex™ Procedure are great for patients who don’t want or cannot have general anesthesia or extensive lumbar surgery. This is especially beneficial for older patients who may be at an anesthesia risk or who may be vulnerable to the risk of hospitalization or prolonged recovery after spinal surgery.
Along with Vertiflex, Dr. Boyd often uses Minuteman to treat lumbar spinal stenosis. The Minuteman® is also a minimally invasive option for patients. It is an interspinous-interlaminar fusion device that is used for stabilization and fixation of the lumbar, thoracic and sacral spine while awaiting bony fusion to occur. Much like The Vertiflex™ Procedure, The Minuteman® provides a safer option for patients who would be put at risk if they had to undergo surgery or be put under anesthesia.
Dr. Boyd often treats titled pelvises and pelvic pain. A tilted pelvis occurs when one side (front or back) of the pelvis tilts upward while the other side tilts downward. This can be caused by poor posture, uneven leg lengths, spinal scoliosis or muscle imbalances and can cause back pain. Pelvic pain and pelvis tilting is usually in conjunction with back and joint pain, so Dr. Boyd can treat both with treatment options to eliminate all pain. A patient’s pain is usually caused by more than one cause, so the Integrated Orthopedics team often has to look at the bigger picture.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and is often paired with or causes a number of the occurrences on this list. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of a person’s bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis can have an effect on any joint but usually affects the joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine. Dr. Boyd can treat osteoarthritis in conjunction with other conditions, or alone.
Shoulder, Hip & Knee pain
Shoulder pain is a broad issue that often has more than one cause. Shoulder pain can be bursitis, tendinitis, tendon tears, impingement, instability, arthritis, and so many other options. Hip pain and knee pain are similar in that regard. Hip pain specifically can also stem from lower back pain, which may be caused by any of the other issues listed above. Knee pain can also be caused by minor injuries like a torn ACL, the dislocation of the kneecap, or can be caused by hip or foot pain.
Dr. Boyd often uses peripheral nerve stimulators to correct shoulder, hip and knee pain. Peripheral nerve stimulators (also known as PNS) use a small electrical device near peripheral nerves to deliver rapid electrical pulses that are felt like mild tingles. These pulses and the PNS process use electrical energy to block specific nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. Using this electrical energy changes the way the nerve works, adjusts how often it fires and prevents the patient from feeling any pain. During the testing period or trial, the electrode is connected to an external device, but if the trial is successful, a small generator may be implanted into the patient’s body. This generator can be controlled by the patient, much like a heart pacemaker, and can be turned off and on and the simulation can be adjusted.
These are just a few of the most common conditions that Dr. Boyd faces, while his work as a pain specialist covers so much more. As a pain specialist, Dr. Boyd is focused on managing a patient’s pain through the use of technology, treatment, collaboration, rehabilitation and more.
At Integrated Orthopedics, the entire team of physicians comes together to help patients manage their pain and to construct pain management plans, so they are rehabilitated back into the life they once had, without pain and with as much movement and ability as possible. For Dr. Boyd, he believes his work isn’t done until a patient’s pain is minimized, and they are back to doing what they love to do.
Q: What are your areas of specialty?
“I call it interventional pain management,” Boyd said. “I’m the type of person you come to see when you pinch a nerve, and I can target it with treatment and then we use rehabilitation to get you better. Or you come in with joint pain or spinal stenosis that’s intractable and we can do procedures or implants to make that pain better. I like to make people better quickly and then use rehabilitation to make that pain relief last faster.”
Q: What are some new technologies/advancements in pain management that you’re excited about offering at IOA?
“Probably the most recent is implant surgeries that we use for spinal stenosis,” Boyd said. “There’s a couple out there like a device called Vertiflex and another one called Minuteman [discussed above in this article]. These are designed to go on with small incisions that open up areas of the spine that are narrowed and provide stability for standing and walking. Typically, this is really good for people who don’t want other surgeries like fusions or rods or hardware in their back but really just want to be able to walk and stand better.”
“There are techniques you can do now for shoulder, hip and knee pain that are advanced for people who can’t have surgery or have had surgery that didn’t work as well as they wanted to. This can include peripheral nerve stimulators, or we can block nerves to provide more sustainable relief for those who can’t have surgery or have already had surgery.”
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
“I really believe in the model that Integrated has,” Boyd said. “It’s all of the team working together to make the patient better. Most patients go do their injections, and they send you home, you come back every six months for medication or epidurals. This is all about working together to manage the problem to get it under control, so they don’t need the medication, they don’t need to come in every month or two for a shot. They can actually be sustained on their own and have a better quality of life without having to come in over and over.”
More about Dr. Boyd
Dr. Boyd is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and is a diplomat of the American Board of Anesthesiology. With over 25 years of experience in pain management, Dr. Boyd is joining the IOA team. If you are interested in getting in contact with, learning more about or setting up an appointment with Dr. Boyd, please take a moment to contact Integrated Orthopedics. If you’re experiencing any joint pain or discomfort, the Integrated Orthopedics team is committed to helping.