En route to earning his physician assistant certification, Gregory C. Rasmussen rotated through Tanner Clinic’s specialties as part of his training. These rotations with the clinic’s specialists included general surgery, internal medicine, OB/GYN and pediatrics.
However, when Greg joined Tanner Clinic in 2010, he settled on physical medicine and rehabilitation. In his PA duties, Greg collaborates with Dr. Ben Humpherys in treating patients who deal with chronic pain.
Greg graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in zoology with a human biology emphasis. He chose Touro University Nevada for his PA training and certification. He is certified by the standard-setting National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
And he maintains those standards. For instance, Dr. Wade Larsen, Tanner Clinic general surgeon, noted, following training in which he supervised Greg as an orderly in the operating room, that Greg has a “natural ability to make patients feel at ease.”
Greg is married with five children. He enjoys outdoor activities and competitive sports, preferably time spent with his family. He is also fond of reading and computers.
“Dr. Humpherys and Greg Rasmussen are a great team. They have helped my family so much. Tanner Clinic is lucky to have such a great specialist that cares about each patient!” — Jill on Facebook, Jan. 12, 2015
“I was very impressed with Dr. Humpherys and his PA-C, Gregory Rasmussen. They both were very helpful and explained everything in a very clear, professional manner. Highly recommend Tanner Clinic!” — In-office comment card, May 14, 2014
It’s safe to say that low-back pain is universal. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s the third most common reason people visit their doctor. (The two more common being skin disorders and osteoarthritis and joint disorders.)
That’s because the lower back — the lumbar spine — is the home base of our bodies’ movement. The lower back allows us to twist, bow and lift. But, in time, all that hard work results in deterioration and pain.
Greg Rasmussen, a PA specializing in physical medicine noted, however, that “We do have good treatment options that can provide significant improvement and decrease pain to the point where patients are able to better perform the activities of daily life.”
Greg works with Dr. Ben Humpherys, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Their Tanner Clinic Layton practice provides the option of relieving spine pain by “intervening” in the pain process using x-ray-guided injections.
Back discomfort appears in many unpleasant forms, such as soreness, numbness and tingling. In simplified terms, the pain results from different conditions such as bony structures like vertebrae that become corroded with growths or spurs, or nerves that are pinched by herniated inter-vertebral discs.
But what happens in the lower back doesn’t stay in the lower back. When nerves are damaged, the pain can follow the nerve, radiating down the buttock, the thighs and even to the knees. Dr. Humpherys’ office also treats many individuals suffering from sciatic pain.
Wear and tear result in spine pain
Unfortunately, much of lumbar spine pain can be traced to the patient’s age, said Greg. Wear and tear on the spine can begin to cause degeneration of the discs and joints. And, as Greg explains, “As a disc starts to degenerate, it can cause real, significant pain.”
Also, there’s stenosis, or narrowing of the spine. The narrowing can be caused by bulging discs, joint degeneration and ligament overgrowth, he said. Individuals who are experiencing stenosis often find some relief by leaning over their grocery carts or simply sitting down. Leaning over or sitting down, said Greg, “opens up the spine a little so you don’t have as much pressure on the nerves.”
The same kind of problems can create neck pain that radiates down the arms, causing numbness and tingling, said Greg. In addition, he says, neck and muscle pain “can be from overuse, motor vehicle accidents, sports, anxiety and stress.”
Types of injections
In treating chronic pain, the options offered by physical medicine include:
▸ Trigger point injections with numbing agents to relieve muscle pain
▸ Epidural steroid injections to relieve inflammation of tissues near the spine caused by discs that are bulging or degenerating
▸ Rhizotomy, or radiofrequency nerve ablation, in which, said Greg, “we actually burn the nerves going to the joints.” This is recommended for those hurting from arthritis.
The techniques of physical medicine have “the ability to change people’s lives,” said Greg. “If we’re able to perform some treatments, specifically an injection type of a treatment, that decreases a patient’s pain to the point where they can live their life better, that’s very fulfilling.”
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