Regional Pain Center finds solutions, not just relief

Photos by Carolyn Bahm

Regional Pain Center in Bartlett uses two focuses to help patients heal: Teamwork and treatment of root causes.

“It’s all about cause and effect,” said owner Dr. Michael Holliman, a chiropractor. “If all you do is treat the symptom and you don’t go toward the cause of the problem, the likelihood of getting a resolution is not really great.”

He gave an analogy: If someone steps on your foot and keeps it there, making your toes go numb, it doesn’t remove the underlying problem to take a pain pill without also removing the offending foot.

Professionals at the center help people who are getting only partial pain relief, sometimes at the expense of having added symptoms from the medication.

Sometimes patients also come in for relief of symptoms other than just pain alone. Holliman recalled a child about 11 years old who was washing her hair when she collapsed and then could not walk. Two weeks of hospital care hadn’t fixed her problems. At Regional Pain Center, they considered the fact that she was a talented soccer player and often did headers (hitting the ball with the forehead). Holliman treated her nerve compression from the repeated impacts.

“We had that young girl walking again in about four weeks,” he said.

The Regional Pain Center’s practice is broad, taking care of people from the elderly to athletes to colicky infants, covering problems as diverse as chronic pain, asthma, high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome.

A two-week-old baby with stomach difficulties is the youngest Holliman has treated. After chiropractic treatment, the baby was finally able to keep formula down.

He has also treated military veterans who couldn’t get out of chairs without help, football players who noticed a loss of strength and speed after taking heavy hits, a firefighter with leg issues after a ceiling collapsed on him, and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who were on oxygen therapy until nerve function was restored to their diaphragms.

One elderly woman couldn’t stand long enough to cook dinner as she loved to do for her family, so she placed several stools in her kitchen and shuffled from stool to stool so she could sit while cooking.

Another woman had suffered neck pain and numbness on her chest and one shoulder for a year despite treatment elsewhere. After coming to Regional Pain Center for just over a month, she said the pain is resolving.

“Now that’s exciting when you see that,” Holliman said.

The practice includes medical doctors, nurse practitioners, chiropractic physicians, physical therapists and massage therapists. Primary providers include Holliman, a chiropractor with 23 years of experience; Dr. Ben B. Kemper, a chiropractor with 25 years of experience; Dr. Griselle V. Figuredo, a medical doctor with 20 years of experience; and Bonnie S. Carr, a physical therapist with 48 years of experience.

“When you put your heads together, you’re going to get a whole lot better result,” Holliman said. “… We’re one of the only facilities – and I believe we might be the only one in the area now – that’s actually doing what we are doing.”

He developed a passion for a team approach to health care years ago after resolving his own pain issues with the help of multiple doctors. He had his first back surgery when he was 22 years old, but he was still hurting daily until team care banished his pain. Today, he said that kind of result is commonplace at Regional Pain Center.

“We are getting results,” he said. “That’s why we get referrals from the V.A., from a lot of the medical facilities and hospitals in the area.”

The business has grown over the years, expanding into new locations as needed. Locations have included Mount Moriah and Hickory Hill around 1995 and then moving to Poplar and Interstate 240. They have been at their current location, 6605 Stage Road in Bartlett, since 2014.

Their goal is to improve quality of life for patients, whether by manipulating the spine to relieve nerve compression, helping an ailing person to strengthen his body, or finding the right anti-inflammatory medicine, muscle relaxants and pain medication to ease pain. When the team determines that surgery is necessary for a patient, they also refer them to surgeons for the appropriate care.

Holliman said, “If we can correct it here, we’re going to correct it here. And if we can’t, we’re going to get you to a doctor that can. And that’s our job.”

CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to