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New pain management program blends traditional techniques with new, integrative therapies

Anesthesiologist Florin Orza, MD, is the director of a new University of Minnesota Health pain management program designed to ease patients’ pain and improve the quality of their care.
Anesthesiologist Florin Orza, MD, is the director of a new University of Minnesota Health pain management program designed to ease patients’ pain and improve the quality of their care.
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Florin Orza, MD, is trying to make the world a little less painful.

Orza, a University of Minnesota Health anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, is leading the development of an innovative pain management program that will blend traditional techniques, such as anesthesia, with integrative care including aromatherapy and acupuncture. Orza and his team will also employ new, highly targeted pain blocks that prevent pain without the side effects of general anesthesia. The team consists of a uniquely qualified team of professionals dedicated to taking care of patients and developing an in-depth understanding of different pain pathways.

Called The Clinic for Comprehensive Pain Management, Orza's program will launch on July 7, 2015, at University of Minnesota Medical Center. Once fully staffed, it will include Orza and three other physicians who will take referrals from a wide range of specialties, from pediatrics to oncology.

“We want to involve every major specialty care area into this program,” Orza said.

Orza’s specialized team will use localized pain blocks to target the pain a patient experiences as a result of their illness or condition. For example, Orza and his team may use an injection called a neurolytic block to target and destroy cancer-infected nerves, drastically reducing the pain a cancer patient may feel due to his or her disease. That method alone will allow some cancer patients with debilitating pain to live better lives.

Those new techniques will be blended with elements of integrative medicine to help patients suffering from chronic pain both before and after surgery. To provide these services, Orza and his team will work closely with the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing, which has two decades of experience in mindfulness, nature-based therapeutics, healing touch, spirituality and aromatherapy.

“I want to make a difference in our patients' lives and reduce their pain so they can spend more time with their families and children,” he said. To do so, Orza will call upon his extensive background in anesthesiology and pain management.

After graduating from medical school in 1991, Orza completed his residency in anesthesiology in 1999 at the Case Western University in Cleveland, OH. In 2000, he completed his fellowship there in chronic pain management. Later, he went to Pittsburgh, where over the course of a decade he developed a well-known regional anesthesia program. Then, he moved on to the University of Illinois, where he again practiced aesthesia and chronic pain before joining University of Minnesota Health.

His extensive experience allows Orza to better understand patients. For example, he can often determine how much pain a person is feeling by reading their body language or picking up on cues in their answers.

“I can offer something that I don’t think other health care systems in the community can offer,” Orza said. We’re definitely a comprehensive pain management program.”

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