According to Justin Kubeck, MD, alleviating pain is the business he is in.
“When people hear that you’re a spine surgeon, they automatically think you’re in the business of operating on people,” Dr. Kubeck said, “but that’s just not accurate.”
Dr. Kubeck went on to explain that although people can usually live with certain disabilities, it’s very difficult to live with constant pain. Pain, he said, is what ultimately drives people to the spine surgeon. Dr. Kubeck added that when a patient first comes to see him, they automatically think he is going to suggest surgery.
“I always tell new patients that we need to see what makes sense for their individual circumstances – whether it’s medication, or therapy, or ultimately, surgery,” Dr. Kubeck explained. “There is a protocol that I follow; I don’t ever just go in and do surgery.”
Dr. Kubeck;s signature approach to spinal care is something he refers to as the Precision Procedure,
“For me, developing the best treatment plan for an individual patient is very proceduralized,” he said. “Once we determine the problem, then I say ‘Here’s what you can expect, here are your options, and here is what we will decide together.’”
In addition to alleviating pain, Dr. Kubeck also believes his job description includes alleviating fear.
“I see it in patients’ eyes when they walk in – they are afraid,” he said. “They’re afraid of the pain, they’re afraid of the surgery, they’re afraid they will never get back to normal.
“My job is to understand their fear and help them to trust that I have their best interests at heart.”
One of the ways Dr. Kubeck does this is by being very transparent with his patients and getting them involved in the process.
“If they know what is going on and remain engaged with their care then their fears go down dramatically,” he explained. “My patients get to know me and we build a relationship – that’s how we build trust, and trust facilitates healing.”
When asked what message he would like his patients to take away from their first visit, Dr. Kubeck answered one word:
“I want my patients to know that they CAN get their lives back and live without pain,” he said.