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Chronic Pain Relief

Chronic Pain Relief

Chronic pain is like the boisterous, crazy uncle you try to avoid at the family reunion. Encounters are painful, last longer than you would like, and result in the same statement: “Wow, I never expected that …” It is a mysterious condition, but its symptoms can be managed with persistence.


According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Pain in its most benign form warns us that something isn’t quite right, that we should take medicine or see a doctor. At its worst, however, pain robs us of our productivity, our well-being, and, for many of us suffering from extended illness, our very lives. Pain is a complex perception that differs enormously among individual patients, even those who appear to have identical injuries or illnesses.”

Pain goes from acute to chronic when its symptoms last for weeks, months, or years, and when the cause is untreatable and unknown.


The impact of chronic pain in America is catastrophic – affecting 100 million people and exacting a financial toll of more than $600 billion every year. If you suffer from chronic pain, you can be helped if you understand the causes of pain and the variety of steps you can follow to learn to manage its symptoms. Scientists believe that progress in neuroscience can lead to more effective treatments for chronic pain in the years ahead.


The human brain is the most complicated organism known to man, with literally billions of neurotransmitters firing off signals that our body interprets as pain, pleasure, hunger, anger, danger, satisfaction, depression – all the “things” we need to function. Researchers believe that chemical imbalances in the brain, and, specifically, faulty neurotransmitters, affect our perception of pain. An especially important factor in the play known as Chronic Pain is the glutamate, a neurotransmitter whose role in nervous system function, increased sensitivity, and duration of pain, is just now being understood with greater clarity.

Researchers believe drugs like ketamine may improve glutamate functionality.


If you are concerned about risk factors that may contribute to chronic pain, your chances of successfully managing the symptoms have likely increased exponentially. Why? The key to treating numerous physical and mental health conditions is recognizing symptoms, triggers, and predispositions – and acting quickly before suffering worse consequences. What are some of the risks of chronic pain?
Some kinds of chronic pain have numerous causes. Back pain, for example, may be caused by a single factor or any combination of these factors: Years of poor posture. Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects. Being overweight, which puts excess strain on the back and knees. A congenital condition such as curvature of the spine.

Generally, these all into three major risk categories:

  • Biological risk factors, like age, genetics, race, fitness, instances of previous illness, or injury.
  • Psychological risk factors, including childhood trauma or abuse and mood disorders.
  • Lifestyle risk factors, such as anxiety, tobacco or drug use, or working a dangerous job.

All of these play a role in your chance of experiencing chronic pain symptoms.


To be diagnosed with chronic pain, you likely will undergo a physical exam and then one or more tests like an X-ray, MRI, or CT-scan, to search for a physical cause, and an Electromyography to see if there is nerve damage. How do you relieve chronic pain? There are several potential treatments, but you should talk to your doctor about which is best for your condition and ask about health risks and benefits.


Managing chronic pain – like the condition itself – is playing the long game. Most people cannot make the pain disappear for good, but its symptoms can be managed over time with resolve. If you are experiencing chronic pain, call us today to schedule a free consultation. There is hope. We can help.

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James T. Leathem, DO

Dr. James Leathem is a board-certified anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelor of science in marketing management with minors in sociology and communications. He obtained his medical degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Michigan State University and its affiliated McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

In 2015, after residency, Dr. Leathem returned to Arizona to practice anesthesiology. He joined Red Mountain Anesthesiologists and worked primarily at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, performing 100% of his own cases. He was made partner in the group after demonstrating 3 years of anesthesia excellence and administering over 4,000 anesthetics. In 2019, a corporate change occurred and an opportunity presented itself in which he was able to transition out of the hospital to surgery center and clinic-based anesthesia.

Dr. Leathem realizes that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, his career took a different direction. This change led him to collaborate with Dr. Wong and Dr. Sharma and they founded Advanced Wellness and Pain (AWAP). Their mission is to provide a variety of state-of-the-art procedural services that improve patients’ quality of life and overall physical and mental well-being.

Dr. Leathem believes that we are all a work in progress and that each day, one should strive to make positive changes in their life. He is here to help empower each patient on their journey to be their best self and live their best life. When you are being cared for by Dr. Leathem, you can be assured that he will give you his undivided attention and time.

Gregory Wong, MD

Dr. Wong is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of both the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Arizona Society of Anesthesiology. He did his undergraduate training at the University of California at Davis, Davis, California; doctorate training at The University of Health Sciences of the Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and his post-doctoral training at the Integrated Program at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ. He has spent his whole 24-year career practicing in Arizona.

Dr. Wong grew up in the Bay Area of California. He is married and is raising three daughters. At the early age of 12 years old, he knew he wanted to become a physician. His love of the human spirit, intrigue of human physiology, and compassion for human suffering led him to the path of anesthesiology and pain medicine.

Today, Dr. Wong realizes patients need a holistic biophysical-mental-spiritual care. This philosophy has brought him to the studies of regenerative medicine and infusion therapies. He has firsthandily witnessed the overwhelming success of these therapies for treating chronic pain and depression and the return of patients of “life-functionality.”

“There has never been a time more important than now to advocate for our patients in these difficult times. We owe it to our patients to offer these state-of-the-art treatment modalities that weren’t available before.”

Deepak Sharma, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He completed three degrees at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA: a Bachelor in Finance, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Medicine. He went on to complete residency at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West Hospital System in New York, NY and post-graduate fellowship at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Sharma is committed to treating his patients as a whole with a comprehensive biophysical-mental-spiritual approach. He is a lifelong learner and is constantly researching cutting-edge therapies backed by scientific studies. He has taken a particular interest in regenerative and infusion therapies after witnessing firsthand their significant benefits on those suffering from chronic pain and depression. In his free time, Dr. Sharma enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and meditation.

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