Getting to Know: Conservative Spine and Joint Center in Lawrenceville
By J. Rice
The crisis of opioid addiction and overdose has been front page news in recent months. Physicians and their patients are increasingly seeking alternative treatments for pain management.
According to Dr. Ruben Diaz of the Conservative Spine and Joint Center in Lawrenceville, there are conservative and comprehensive programs for all musculoskeletal problems, which can help in diminishing and often alleviating pain in the back, neck, joints, nerves, and muscles.
“Many Americans suffer from chronic pain, and these patients deserve a safe and effective pain management,” Dr. Diaz says. “Prescription opioids can help manage some types of pain in the short term. However, there is not enough information about the benefits of opioids long term, and it is known that there are serious risks of opioid use disorder and overdose – particularly with high dosages and long-term use. Alternatives like pain management procedures, physical therapy, and maximizing non-opiates medications are safer and do not lead to dependence. These alternatives are what we offer at the Conservative Spine & Joint Center.”
As a teenager, Dr. Diaz worked in a summer camp for individuals with disabilities. The experience impacted him to such a great degree that he credits it for his decision to work in the specialty of spine and joint problems.
In 2013, with the help of his wife Vivian Avella-Diaz as his office manager, Dr. Diaz opened his own office, acting on his lifelong desire to help patients improve their way of life, and avoid unnecessary surgeries and unnecessary medications. He is Board Certified in PM&R (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) and Pain Management, and he and the staff are bilingual (English and Spanish).
“Our goal is to help patients decrease pain, avoid the need for strong opioids, increase function, and increase quality of life,” Dr. Diaz says.
In addition, Conservative Spine and Joint works in the local community to inspire the next generation of healthcare workers. “We started a student internship with the Gwinnett School of Math, Sciences and Technology to teach minority students interested in medicine about the administrative aspect of a medical office as well as the expectations of medical school,” Dr. Diaz explains. “This internship has grown to include college students interested in applying to medical school, and is now a yearlong internship where students learn about physiology, anatomy, coding, and billing, among other medical related aspects.”
At present the internship is only available to Gwinnett county students. “We not only teach them, but also help them through the process of applying to medical school,” Dr. Diaz states. “So far we have had two students accepted to major medical schools and have a long list of students waiting to be able to participate in our internship.”
Dr. Diaz has been practicing medicine for over 26 years and worked for the Atlanta VA helping veterans for 10 years as a service to the military and their families. It was his way of saying thank you for all those who serve our country.
For Dr. Diaz and his staff, the most rewarding moments are the testimonials they hear from their patients.
“For me it is very gratifying when a patient calls us out of the blue just to let us know they are pain free and enjoying their way of life,” says Vivian. “Even though we have not seen them in a while, and they don’t need to be seen, they just want to thank us for everything we did and for how much the procedure Dr. Diaz did helped them.”
Dr. Diaz adds, “The most gratifying moments are when the patients tell you that you made an incredible difference in their lives.”
More information on Conservative Spine & Joint at conservativespine.com.