January 2010

Lowcountry Spine and Sport: An Honest Practice That Gets Patients Better

Author: Craig Hysell | Photographer: John Brackett

Dr. John P. Batson, MD, FACSM, has a resume that reads like a go-getter’s grocery list. He is a cum laude graduate from the College of Charleston with a BS in Biology. He completed his medical training at USC School of Medicine in Columbia and his internship and residency at Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville, SC. He was a former primary care physician for the USC Gamecocks and the SC State Bulldogs sports teams and currently volunteers his time on the sidelines of local high school games. He has co-authored several books, taught at the USC School of Medicine and lectures to his peers two or three times a year. He is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine (no easy task) and the only physician in South Carolina to be board-certified in Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. Not bad for a guy who spent most of his time growing up on Hilton Head Island as a competitive windsurfer.

Of course, you can get all of that information on Lowcountry Spine and Sport’s Web site. What you won’t see about Dr. Batson is that beyond his highly qualified nature, he is a man who has somehow combined passion, knowledge and enthusiasm with humility, temperance and a certain degree of mellow humanity—perhaps all this stems from his younger days spent on the beach taking in the lessons of sun, wind, sand and ocean. He listens intently without judgment. He is opinionated without being arrogant. It seems he has an incessant need not to be right, but rather to get his patients better, which speaks of confidence coupled with empathy and compassion.

Dr. Batson pursues “aggressive, non-operative treatment options” and believes in “minimizing medication for patients and maximizing physical therapy treatment, behavioral coping strategies and procedures that help with pain control.” Dr. Batson wants to get his patients better, and to that end, he keeps them thoroughly involved and even accountable to a degree. He is a big believer in physical therapy, flexibility, proper nutrition and preventative education as a means to that end. “As a personal philosophy,” said Dr. Batson, “I believe we can do a good job with other alternatives. Not everyone needs a shot; not everyone needs pain medicine; not everyone needs therapy.” His assessments are strategic and comprehensive; his staff is friendly, professional and understanding; his treatment options are patient inclusive.

Dr. Batson explains a typical visit like this: “I’ve got a great staff who are used to seeing people in pain and used to dealing with tough issues. So, hopefully, when you come into the office you are greeted in a fashion that makes you comfortable and lets you say, ‘Okay, I’m in the right spot.’ Then, what I’m going to do is give the patient a very thorough exam on whatever area is giving the patient the trouble. Then we are going to look at imaging, whether that be x-rays, MRIs, that type of thing, and then we are going to come up with a plan together.” Dr. Batson says he discusses the options he has assessed, asks patients where they think they fit and they determine, together, the best route to get the patient back on track. After all that, Dr. Batson calls his patients personally a few days later to see how things are progressing. “People think I’m a telemarketer at first sometimes,” said Batson with a grin. “The conversations can be kind of interesting until they realize who I am.”

A doctor who actually cares enough to call his patients personally to see how they are doing? That explains Dr. Batson’s character in a nutshell.

Beyond his seemingly impeccable character are Dr. Batson’s aforementioned credentials and his specializations in spine, sports medicine and pain medicine. When it comes to the spine, Dr. Batson, has completed 12 months of additional training in interventional spinal care in the form of a fellowship with Mount Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, from some of the top spinal physicians in the country. His practice runs the veritable gamut of age groups and spinal issues. “I see some adolescent groups with back pain, and usually those are more developmental issues or stress fractures. In the middle age crowd, we typically see disc problems, herniated discs that pinch nerves and you get the sciatic in the leg or nerve pain in the arm; and then you see the shift after 55 where you’re dealing more with degenerative problems like arthritis, degenerative disc disease and stenosis. By far, the majority of my practice is 55 and up when it comes to the spine.” Everything Dr. Batson says and does seems affable, measured, efficient, exacting and geared toward one thing: patient improvement. What more could you want in an elite-level physician?

For more information, visit www.spineandsportmd.com or call (843) 208-2420
and get better honestly.

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