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Spotlight: Carlton Kimmerle, MD, understands chronic pain from a patient’s point of view

“This specialty is interesting to me because it incorporates diverse aspects of medical practice including musculoskeletal, neurological, and psychological diagnosis and treatment.”
Carlton Kimmerle, MD, is passionate about treating patients with spine pain, other musculoskeletal pains, headaches and neuropathic pain syndromes.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Carlton Kimmerle, MD, knows what it’s like to be in his patients’ shoes.

Kimmerle is one of a handful of specialists working in the Clinic for Comprehensive Pain Management at University of Minnesota Medical Center. The clinic is a new program comprised of different care providers who blend traditional pain management techniques such as injections with other integrative techniques, including botox and acupuncture.

Kimmerle’s own experience as a patient eventually inspired him to become a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. We asked Kimmerle to share a little bit about himself and what he does.

Describe your role within University of Minnesota Health.
My original specialty is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and I also completed a fellowship in pain medicine. I currently work within the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Anesthesiology. I am an assistant professor of both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Anesthesiology. I see patients with complex or chronic pain, which can include patients who have musculoskeletal or neuropathic conditions. Much of the work I do includes patients who require non-surgical spine care, but I also treat patients with pain in other locations such as neck, appendages, knee and shoulders.

Learn more about our pain management and anesthesiology services at University of Minnesota Medical Center.

What motivated you to want to become a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician?
This specialty is interesting to me because of the focus on functionality. I believe strongly in the body’s ability to heal, and I strive to find ways to facilitate this. I am a proponent of maximizing people’s function and improving their quality of life. This is a central tenant of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, so I found the specialty to be a good fit for me.

Why are you passionate about spinal pain management?
Back and/or neck pain affects most people at some time of their lives. It can be a significantly disabling condition for some, and being able to help people decrease pain and restore day-to-day function is extremely gratifying for me.

What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community? 
I enjoy serving the population we see at University of Minnesota Medical Center. I also enjoy teaching within the university’s medical school, residency and fellowship programs.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, gardening and participating in outdoor activities like hiking and skiing.