By KEVIN CHIRI
Tammany West news
COVINGTON – If Dr. D’Wan Carpenter ever decides she wants a different career than working as a joint pain specialist there are probably a lot of colleges that would gladly bring her on staff.
That’s because she does a great job of simplifying her lessons, especially evident when talking about joint pain that most Americans will suffer with during their life.
Dr. Carpenter has a Masters of Science in Anatomy and is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who sees patients at the Neuroscience & Pain Institute, now with locations in Covington, Slidell and Hammond.
Her specialty is joint pain and she quickly helps anyone understand why it is such a common problem for so many individuals.
“Our bodies are like cars. We can keep them in the best condition possible—get checkups, fix something as soon as it goes wrong, replace the fluids—but over time something will still go wrong,” she said. “Our bodies really are like cars—they wear down over time from one thing or another.”
Dr. Carpenter said that for most people reaching the age of 40 there will be noticeable aches and pains, many that come from joint problems.
“Our joints have lubrication and that can wear out over time,” she explained. “We have cartilage that breaks down, ligaments wear out, muscles can be pulled—the natural wear and tear of using our bodies for years will usually create problems as you age.”
Dr. Carpenter said that her approach to help patients with joint pain is frequently surprising since she takes an ultra-conservative approach to try many different ways to correct the problem, without immediately suggesting surgery.
“There are a lot of ways to correct joint pain issues without surgery and I use them all, especially some very new technology that has not been out too long,” she said. “We use physical therapy, bracing, manipulation and injections—all of which are better than having surgery, and frequently get better results.”
Dr. Carpenter has another method to her work that has proven to bring even better results and that is to use ultrasound with all injections she administers.
“When you are using a needle and use ultrasound to watch the exact place it is going the results are incredibly improved,” she said. “Compare that to the idea of simply injecting an area without seeing inside the body. With ultrasound I can watch the exact spot the needle is going and ensure I treat the specific problem.”
Dr. Carpenter is originally from Dayton, Ohio and said she entered the field of medicine after watching her mother work as a physical therapy assistant.
“My mother loved what she did and I know I became interested in health care because of her,” Dr. Carpenter said. “She was a single mom and supported me in everything I did. I naturally thought I was going to be a doctor, but my mother still told me to explore all my options since she wanted to make sure I also loved going to work every day, as she did.”
Dr. Carpenter said “I wanted to be just like my mom from the time I was 5 or 6,” so when she went to college she began taking all the classes for medicine, but was drawn to neurology and the muscles.
“We spent a lot of time every year learning how all the parts of the body work together. Something about that really interested me, especially the pain aspect, and how you help people improve from those problems,” she said. “Almost everyone will face some kind of joint pain one day so that became the area I wanted to work in.”
Carpenter said there are other newer technologies being used with injections, including bursa injections into the soft tissue space between bones, muscles, tendons or skin. Also, steroid injections and stem cell injections are proving to be very helpful to reduce joint pain.
“A lot of people are surprised there is so much I can do to help them improve, all without surgery,” Dr. Carpenter said, now 10 years since earning her Master’s Degree. “But the conservative approach is really what I think is best so I am always trying to consider those avenues.”
Dr. Carpenter also specializes in concussions, a topic that is getting much more attention these days through sports, where the potential for those injuries is getting much more focus now.
“I have seen people come to the hospital with a concussion and get sent home without having it addressed properly,” she said. “It made me want to learn more about it and that became another area I spent a lot of time studying.
“Anyone who hits their head hard, even if they do not blackout needs to be evaluated and not wait,” she said. “The longer you wait the more serious the problem can develop.”
Working in St. Tammany Parish, Dr. Carpenter said she couldn’t be happier with the field of work she chose.
“I’m very satisfied with this profession,” she said. “And I’m trying to always remember what my mother told me—‘Never give up and trust God with everything.’”
Carpenter is married with two children, a 4-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.
For more information, call 985-892-8934 or go online to neuroscienceandpaininstitute.com.