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Pain Center gets some breathing room

By Joanie Morris

Kannapolis Citizen

Going from 4,800 square feet to 12,000 square feet, Amy Schoolman says, feels like moving from a shanty to a mansion.

NorthEast Pain Management Center on Copperfield Boulevard will move from its current location two stories up to an expanded space in February.

Schoolman, lead nurse at the facility, took about an hour last week to show a reporter through the facility.

The difference is astounding.

Now, NorthEast Pain Management Center has a small breakroom, seven patient exam rooms, five pre- and post-operative bays, two procedure rooms and no windows or waiting room.

When the new facility opens on Feb. 5, Schoolman, her fellow nurses, seven doctors and two nurse practitioners will be working in a space that includes a breakroom more than twice the size of the old one, 15 exam rooms, 11 pre- and post-operative bays, four procedure rooms and windows that overlook much of Copperfield Boulevard.

The center has gone from an empty shell on the third floor of the Copperfield Outpatient Center to near completion in three months.

Right now, Schoolman said, they aren’t planning to add any additional staff. The facility sees about 1,150 patients a month.

“As we grow, we’ll add more,” Schoolman said.

Dr. Shaun Williams, board certified in anesthesiology and in pain management, said he can’t wait for the new facility to open.

“I think the demand has always been here” for more patient treatment, he said. He said more than 60 percent of the patients he treats for pain at the center complain of lower back pain. Thirty to 35 percent are patients complaining of neck pain and the rest covers every other type of pain imaginable.

“I think, if anything, it’s hard to see the numbers of patients you need to see,” Williams said of the demands for pain services. “We have such a variety of things we do. We need rooms to recover people after procedures. It ties up things when you can’t get more of them through. You need to have space to make the flow of traffic more palatable.”

Williams said he’s happy the pain management center will move two stories up to the new facility.

“Like anything, as you get bigger, the crowds get bigger too. Eventually (the new center) may be too small, too.”

The NorthEast Pain Management Center specializes in relieving chronic pain and works with each patient’s physician to determine the appropriate pain treatment program. The center offers pain management for problems such as arthritis, back and neck injuries, back surgery, cancer, diabetes, headaches, extremity pain, poor circulation and more.

The program offers a comprehensive medical, physical and psychological evaluation and treatment tailored to each patient’s needs.

Schoolman said the space limits the number of patients the center can treat. It used to have a waiting room, but the practice needed the space, so the room was converted into two patient exam rooms.

Patients now come in, register with the front desk and get a pager to let them know when the doctor is ready to see them. Patients use the waiting room in the radiology center in the same building.

“We will have more room to see more patients,” Schoolman said. Patients had to go to Charlotte before the surgical center opened. “It gives them an opportunity to stay here to get their pain needs taken care of.”

For more information about the NorthEast Pain Management Center, call 704-783-2525 or visit www.northeastmedical.org.

Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@kannapoliscitizen.com.

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