First drawn to anesthesia after spending three years in general medicine while serving in the United States Air Force, Vincent G. Johnson, D.O. liked the rapid decision-making and interventional aspect of treating critically ill patients in the operating room. “What I missed was the individual interaction with patients developed over time that I had enjoyed in general medicine,” he said. “In pain management, I found the perfect mix of patient-oriented diagnosis and treatment challenges with the interventional treatment options that anesthesia had allowed.”
Dr. Johnson joined the New York Spine & Pain Physicians (NYSPP) in summer 2018 bringing with him more than 25 years of experience. Graduating with a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Missouri-based University of Health Sciences, he spent nearly a decade serving in the USAF in different capacities including as chief of the Acute Care Clinic at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts and as a clinical instructor at the Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center Department of Anesthesia at Lackland AFB in Texas.
Moving into the private sector in 1992, Dr. Johnson devoted his practice to the Kansas City area rising from staff member to medical director at the Columbia Surgicenter of Kansas City and St. Joseph Medical Center where he oversaw pain management. Before coming to NYSPP, he worked in the pain management centers of St. Joseph, St. Mary and Menorah medical centers and was president of SJ Pain Associates, Inc.
When it comes to care, Dr. Johnson believes it is imperative to listen to each patient’s story. “It is our goal to discover the pain generator(s) that started each patient’s painful journey,” he said. “It is only then that we can begin to define individual treatment goals for each patient and move forward to successfully improve the quality of life for that person.”
His approach to medication management follows the multi-modal approach to pain management. “Pain is defined as a bio-psycho-social and physical process,” he said. “I address all aspects of pain generation and its effects on patients in order to optimize individual response and improvement. I follow the CDC Treatment Ladder for pain management. Distraction, relaxation techniques, exercise/physical therapy, along with an array of individualized interventional treatment techniques all play a role in pain management along with appropriately selected and monitored central acting medications.”
The biggest joy of interventional pain management, Dr. Johnson notes, is the impact he is able to have on individual patients’ quality of life. “It is extremely rewarding to have patients return to the clinic and relate a milestone that he or she was able to accomplish because of our work together,” he said. “These may be bucket list goals of hiking in the mountains, traveling to see a family member’s graduation or dancing at a grandchild’s wedding. It is extremely rewarding to be involved in the evolution of pain management diagnostic and treatment interventions. I look forward to helping to define and continue the practice in this ever-growing field.”
In his downtown, Dr. Johnson enjoys biking and running. His daughter is a marathon runner and he often runs short (5K) jogs with her before her competitions. Traveling and cooking together with his wife is also a passion. “I also enjoy collecting vintage vinyl albums from rock and roll, blues and jazz to classical music,” he said. “It all sounds better on vinyl.”
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