Dr. Andrew Coles, a board-certified specialist in internal medicine, brings his practice to Tanner Clinic where he will specialize in medical and interventional management of chronic pain.
Dr. Coles received his B.S. degree in chemistry at the University of Utah, graduating magna cum laude. He earned his M.D. from the U of U School of Medicine. Dr. Coles completed extensive training as a resident, beginning at Washington University in Saint Louis where he trained in anesthesiology. Following that, Dr. Coles completed a residency in internal medicine at U of U affiliated hospitals in Salt Lake City.
Dr. Coles treated patients at Davis Internal Medicine in Layton before transferring to Tanner Clinic where he will see patients at the Layton location.
When not seeing patients, Dr. Coles enjoys oil painting, doing home improvement projects and playing with his children.
Chronic pain is exhausting, exasperating, debilitating. It affects everything in an individual’s life: thinking and concentrating, walking and being sociable. It causes mood swings, depression and sleepless nights.
And perhaps most frustrating, it is invisible.
Pain is the focus of Dr. Andrew Coles, who operates a new pain clinic at Tanner Clinic. His goal is to restore those who suffer from chronic pain to the functionality they once had.
His clinic specializes in prescribing pain-killing drugs in an environment of monitoring, safety compliance and testing. “That’s really what we specialize in,” he said.
He is joined in the clinic by Nicholas Wittwer, a certified physician assistant. Chronic pain, said Nick, is pain that lasts more than three months and isn’t expected to diminish within a healing process.
Dr. Coles, who is board certified in internal medicine and anesthesiology, provides what he calls “targeted interventions.” These methods include joint injections, nerve blocks and related procedures — familiar to those who deal with chronic pain, such as from arthritis.
“We do injections to target medicine where it’s needed most,” he said. “So instead of using a pill, which goes all through your body, we inject medication where it’s needed the most.”
Treatment plan and monthly visits
When procedures don’t provide adequate pain relief, Dr. Coles may recommend a controlled pain medication. “Sometimes we just can’t do a procedure that gets a person to the point where their pain is controlled enough so that they can be more functional,” he said.
The pain clinic’s patients create a treatment plan and are seen monthly. “The reason we meet with our patients as often as we do,” he said, “is make sure they’re not running into negative side effects of medication and that they’re taking the medications as directed.”
Another big responsibility, he adds, is “keeping those medications out of the hands of folks who shouldn’t have them. In other words, that they’re under lock and key.”
Managing the source of chronic pain
As a board-certified internal medicine specialist, Dr. Coles can manage patients’ pain as well as the underlying underlying medical issue as well.
That’s why he also specializes in such endocrinological ailments as diabetes and hormone deficiency.
Many people with diabetes suffer from neuropathy and dysfunctional nerve pain. Hormonal deficiencies can result from chronic pain itself or from long-term use of medication.