Pain Treatment Centers of America (PTCOA) is the largest, fully comprehensive, pain management practice in Arkansas. With 10 locations across the state, including one in Conway, PTCOA’s team of dedicated physicians and nurse practitioners helps restore patients’ functionality and improve the quality of their daily lives.
PTCOA was established in Little Rock over six years ago. Immediately upon its founding, CEO Bill McCrary said the practice began strategizing how to expand into other markets. Conway was at the top of its list for several reasons.
“PTCOA prides itself on being an innovative company that is all things pain management to all people, and we think of Conway in the same way,” McCrary said. “Conway is a developing city that embraces community values, making it an attractive option for people with diverse goals and needs for the community they call home.
“We want to partner with and serve the health care community. We want to create jobs from a business perspective and bring people to Conway and the surrounding areas. PTCOA is proud to have established business in Conway, and we look forward to being an asset to the community.”
PTCOA employs 15 people at its 12,000-square-foot Conway facility, which relocated in August 2020 to the Conway Regional Medical Park at 2425 Dave Ward Drive, Suites 301 and 302. Haley Stout is practice manager for the Conway location.
“Conway is a growing community, and here at Pain Treatment Centers of America, we focus heavily on community values,” Stout said. “We love it here. We feel like a family, and we think it’s important to be involved in a community that embraces the same values we do.”
PTCOA’s practice is divided into two areas: the clinic and the ambulatory surgery center, or ASC. Stout oversees the clinic side of PTCOA, and Molly Burnett manages the ASC, which should open within the next two months.
“We prefer a multimodal approach to managing your pain,” Stout said. “That means we offer physical therapy, injections, several interventional pain management techniques, and other advanced procedures. With two operating rooms, our ASC will enable us to provide even more options to treat our patients’ pain that can’t be performed in a clinical setting.”
Approximately 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which is any pain that lasts longer than three to six months. Dr. Brian Malki, a fellowship-trained physician at PTCOA’s Conway location, said the pain can occur in any part of the body, but lower back pain is one of the most common conditions he treats.
“Most Americans – at least 85% – will deal with chronic pain in their lower back at least once in their lifetime. It can be very debilitating.”
While a lot of chronic pain occurs after an accident or injury, Dr. Malki said many patients have chronic pain that results from diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic diseases. These patients often exhibit peripheral neuropathy, which is a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, or peripheral nerves.
“We treat a lot of degenerative disc disease,” Dr. Malki said. “A healthy disc should be between two bones, but when it becomes diseased, it may push out and pinch on some nerves in the back, which may cause pain down the legs as well.
“The patient will come and complain of back pain and pain in both lower legs. We treat that with physical therapy, some nerve medication, and if that doesn’t help, we can consider epidural steroid injections. Another source of back pain can be arthritis pain. We have joints in the lower back that can become arthritic, just like a knee or hip can become arthritic. Those joints can be a pain generator, and we can target these as well.”
When it opens, the new ambulatory surgery center will allow PTCOA’s providers to perform more advanced procedures at the Conway location, allowing them to help more patients in the North Metro area to get care closer to home.
“A lot of the procedures we do here now in the office are mainly joint injection epidurals, but a lot of patients need more advanced procedures, such as a spinal cord stimulator or peripheral nerve stimulator,” Dr. Malki said. “These procedures can’t be done in an office setting, so we usually refer them to the Little Rock practice. But once we open the ASC here, it will be much easier to treat patients under one roof. It will improve patient satisfaction, especially for our patients who are already driving an hour to see us in Conway.”
Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Dr. Malki now resides in Conway with his wife and two daughters. He completed his residency in Anesthesiology and then completed a fellowship in Interventional Pain Management at Wayne State/Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Malki knew he wanted to specialize in Pain Management early in his medical career.
“I was interested in helping patients with chronic pain because my father had dealt with chronic pain. Sometimes patients who deal with chronic pain may experience misunderstandings with their diagnosis; people may think they are drug-seeking because of the medications they are on. So, it is important for them to be seen by a provider who understands their diagnosis and how to help them.”
Dr. Noemi Ramsay is the other fellowship-trained physician at PTCOA’s Conway location. She completed her anesthesia residency at Boston Medical Center, after which she completed a pain management fellowship at the University of Baltimore Medical Center. Dr. Ramsay practiced general anesthesia for 10 years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, then realized she wanted to make more of a difference in her patients’ lives than just getting them through their surgeries.
Pain Treatment Centers of America treats patients experiencing chronic pain resulting from a wide range of conditions. Patients must get a referral from a general practitioner or a specialist in orthopedics, neurology, internal medicine, or another area to be seen at PTCOA. For a list of conditions and treatment options, visit PTCOA.com or call 844-215-0731.