Each month, we ask one of our practitioners to answer questions that offer a glimpse into their practice and their lives.
Dr. Javier Sanchez is an interventional pain management physician who recently joined Florida Spine Associates in September. He practices out of the Wellington office and specializes in the treatment of pain conditions of the spine, chronic post-surgical pain and cancer pain.
Why did you join Florida Spine Associates?
I wanted to join a group of young, energetic, like-minded individuals trained in the latest procedures and with a strong reputation of providing quality care.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the moment after a successful procedure. Especially when the patient gets up and says, “Wow, the pain is gone!”
Where is your hometown?
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Where did you go to school?
Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City.
I trained in anesthesia at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell. I stayed there for a fellowship in interventional pain at Weill Cornell Medical Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Is it true that you met your wife in medical school?
Yes! I met a beautiful OB/GYN while in medical school. We have two kids who are two and 18 months.
Do you have any pets?
I have my hands full with two toddlers!
How do you like to relax?
I prefer to be near water, whether that’s poolside or at the beach.
Why did you specialize in interventional pain medicine?
It is incredibly rewarding to help patients in need, especially when they are feeling the most vulnerable. Interventional pain management can provide such great quality of life for patients, especially with all the new developments in the field. Our profession has evolved so much that we can offer treatments that don’t rely solely on medications, which can sometimes have so many unwanted side effects.
How do you serve as a change agent in medicine?
First, there are so many poorly diagnosed patients. I feel it’s important to slow down and spend time on the patient assessment, working to figure out what’s wrong. We have to understand everything – environment, previous injuries, and other medications – before we make sense of the situation and pick the right treatments.
Second, I want to advocate for increased access to all of the available treatment options. Sometimes patients are not aware, nor are they fully educated, on all the options available. I feel it’s my duty to make sure my patients understand every potential treatment plan, from medication to physical therapy to interventional treatments to surgery.
What’s your favorite part of working at FSA?
Everyone in the office is so nice to each other!
What would the staff say about you?
I think they would say that I am kind and empathic, with a good bed-side manner and an attention to explaining things to patients.
What is your favorite procedure and why?
This is a very hard question to answer because I enjoy doing so many procedures, especially since our outcomes are so good.
But if I had to pick one, it would be kyphoplasty, which is a procedure used to treat vertebral compression fractures. Not only do patients feel significant pain relief, it can actually help them live longer. That’s just amazing.
What is your favorite type of condition to treat?
Cancer pain. Cancer poses such a unique challenge in that both the cancer and the treatments given to patients can cause so much pain. Each patient is unique – the cancer they have, the treatment they are getting, or the area of the body that is affected.
It definitely forces you to think outside the box. However, we have incredible tools that we can use to alleviate pain. We can selectively numb specific nerves or use neuromodulation, intrathecal pumps, plus many other advanced techniques.
Through pain management, we improve quality of life and make every moment count.
What’s a hobby you’re currently enjoying?
What shows do you love?
Since I’m in the throes of parenting, I love comedians who tell good parenting jokes.
What is something unique you offer your patients?
I’m fluent in both English and Spanish. It’s helpful, especially in South Florida, that I explain what hurts, how it hurts and how it interferes with their daily life in my patients’ native tongue.
What are you interested in outside of medicine?
I’m fascinated by the world of computer science, in part, because of all the benefits technology can bring.
What’s worth spending money on to get the best quality?
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Being told that I’m a good dad.
What is one personal rule you never break?
I never suggest a treatment — or anything, for that matter — that I wouldn’t offer to a family member.