A Holistic Approach to Pain Management: An Interview with Dr. Karan Johar

- Interview by Aylin Cook from PatientPop -

PatientPop client Karan Johar, M.D. is one of the nation’s top pain management and rehabilitation physicians.  Currently serving as the Medical Director for NYC Pain Specialists, Dr. Johar holds a faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, is the Chief Pain Consultant for a New England CAH (Critical Access Hospital), and has a shared appointment at Lenox Hill Hospital in the departments of Anesthesiology and Internal Medicine.

We talked to him about why he’s passionate about restoring independence to patients in chronic pain, why he’s started his own practice, and how he’s helping medical students become better medical writers. 

How did you get into your specialty?

I knew I wanted to go into med school. I also had an interest in business and finance, so I majored in financial economics and I always had the desire to blend the two at some point. Anyway, I went to med school and started off doing general surgery. You’re fresh out of med school, all of the sudden you’re a doctor in general surgery. You would see a lot of bad stuff like car accidents, stabbings, burns…I just felt that the humanism and relationships that I had expected or imagined going into medicine were just different in the surgical field. I wanted to help people after they had had some major setback.

That threw me into physical medicine rehabilitation. I went to Washington University in St. Louis for my physical medicine rehab residency. We’d take care of patients that had different sorts of setbacks such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and musculo-skeletal injuries. I really enjoyed that field as it allowed me to play the role of sports medicine, neurology, and orthopedics. I felt that pain management was a natural extension of what I had learned over there.

In physical medicine, you look at everything more holistically as far as their diet, exercise, social support system. The environment for patients makes a big difference in their overall outcomes. Upon completing the fellowship, I decided to start my own practice.

That was a big challenge, especially in a city like New York where expenses are very high for real estate, human capital, and everything else you need to run a business.

To read the full interview with PatientPop, go to https://www.patientpop.com/blog/running-a-practice/dr-karan-johar-interview/.