Hal S. Blatman, MD is the founder and medical director of the Blatman Health and Wellness Center, and a nationally recognized specialist in treating myofascial pain. He is credentialed in Pain Management and Board Certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and in Integrative Holistic Medicine. Dr. Blatman is the immediate Past-President of the American Holistic Medical Association.
During Dr. Blatman’s tenure in general medicine, he recognized western medicine’s difficulty treating and managing chronic and myofascial pain. In this candid interview with CureJoy, Dr. Hal talks about the misconceptions ailing current diagnostic methods and why looking at “pain” needs an urgent new perspective.
Q1: You started off as a MD, practicing Modern/Western medicine. What triggered your decision to venture into traditional and holistic treatment?
My path toward progressive medicine probably started early in my life. I remember during childhood that our parents would give us extra vitamins when they thought our resistance to illness was down. Years later during medical school we were taught that taking vitamins was not supposed to be necessary, and I found they made me feel better. Other inconsistencies became apparent during the next several years that were more dramatic.
During residency training in orthopedic surgery I noticed that x-ray studies did not correlate with pain. In other words, people with more degenerative change on their joint x-rays were not necessarily in more pain than people with less damage. A short time later, a dentist taught me about head and neck pain that came from muscle and fascia. I was fascinated and began to realize that what we were taught about pain was surprisingly incomplete.
My wife invited a physical therapist to dinner who taught me that our skull bones did not fuse, and indeed continued to move until death. A few years later I was seeing a woman with pelvic pain, and her history did not match what I felt in her physical findings. Instead of starting an IV and sending her to the hospital as I was trained, I offered to stretch out the muscles in her belly to see if they were the cause of her pain. To my surprise, her pain and physical findings were gone in minutes. This led me to realize that what the dentist had taught me about head and neck pain, applied to every muscle in the body.
I began to understand that what doctors were taught about pain was misleading them in both diagnosis and treatment. Pain was not due so much to pinched nerves and spine abnormalities, but rather due to injury to muscle and fascia. In addition, I began to appreciate more that what doctors were taught about nutrition was also misleading.
Q2: For the benefit of our readers, would you elaborate on the therapeutic treatments you offer?
We offer personalized care, good listening, physical examination skills that will be able to find the location of your injuries, and treatment to help restore your health and function. This treatment may include:
- nutrition for decreasing inflammation and pain
- nutrition to increase speed and healing of injury
- infrared light to decrease pain and increase healing
- bio-identical hormone therapies to decrease pain and restore function
- Prolotherapy to reduce pain and restore function to ligaments, tendons, and joint cartilage
- trigger point injections to reduce pain, restore flexibility and function
- platelet rich plasma injections to reduce pain and restore function, regrow partially torn ligaments and tendons
- stem cell injection therapies to restore damaged tissue
- needle fascia therapy to stop the progression of scoliosis in a growing child
- Dermapen therapy to restore skin tone, reduce scars, reduce wrinkles and the effects of aging on skin
- environmental detoxification by several methods including infrared sauna therapy
- massage therapy
- energy healing/healing touch/Reike
- herbal medicine
- myofascial release
- health and wellness coaching
Q3: Are majority of the medical conditions you treat, an outcome of unhealthy lifestyle habits, prevalent in society today?
I believe that most medical conditions we all treat are a result of injury to the body. This injury can be by physical trauma, mental trauma, nutritional or ingested toxins (including what many consider to be food), injury due to environmental poisons, and injury to what we might call spirit.
Physical injuries often involve a combination of damage to muscle, tendon, fascia, and joint.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits prevalent in society today can be part of any of these injuries, as well as part of why pain and disability continue or worsen.
Q4: How important is role of spirituality in healing process?
Spirituality can be very important in the healing process. There are too many studies about prayer and other spiritual issues affecting the outcome of healing for this to be ignored. Defining spirituality in healing is very challenging.
Q5: What alternative medical sciences do you incorporate in your treatments?
We incorporate the medical sciences of healing in our treatments. Most pain and dysfunction can be reduced as the injured body puts itself back together with our help. I believe that our job as healers is first to teach people how to get out of their own way so that their body can start to do the healing it already knows how to do. The next steps are to figure out where the most serious injuries are and use what we know to help the body restore. We always need good food. Sometimes we need herbal agents and other medicines to help restore worn adrenal, thyroid, sex, and brain glands. Every person’s problems are different, but we all heal with the same biology. In helping out patients, we use all the techniques/treatments listed above.
Q6: What are the enablers towards inculcating a pain free healthy lifestyle?
People like health, long life, and a pain free and fully functioning ride along the path of life. Many are seeing their parents and friends age miserably and would like to avoid their end of life problems. This requires a healthier lifestyle for full realization of the goal.