The challenge of bringing neurosurgery into the 21st century with patient-friendly outpatient care has more than met its match in Whitney James, M.D. As the Quad Cities’ newest and youngest neuromodulatory surgeon, Dr. James has launched her medical practice at Northern Arizona Pain Institutes (NAPI) in Prescott.
Melding the art and science of medicine, James applies outpatient surgical solutions to alleviate brain, spine and peripheral nerve damage associated with chronic pain, cancer and other maladies. She specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures with outstanding aesthetic results and a soothing bedside manner.
“I am very motivated by the artistic and aesthetic aspects of medicine, especially as a surgeon,” James revealed. “Science furnishes the all-important knowledge, but the actual practice of medicine is very much a performance art.”
She characterizes her business model as a “game changer,” because of its ease and simplicity for patients, along with reduced costs for the medical community. Patients of Dr. James also receive alternative therapy treatments under her supportive care model to expedite healing. Some of the holistic supplemental therapies include: yoga and cranial sacral therapies as well as acupuncture, acupressure, aqua therapy and more.
James encourages pain patients to participate in Yoga Therapy, which uses self-inquiry to facilitate harmony between body, mind and breath. When there’s a disconnect between these three aspects of self, a patient’s physiology may become imbalanced, further exacerbating symptoms of stress, fatigue, pain and illness. Through the tools of movement, breath and deep relaxation, patients experience a deeper connection to the innate healing capacity within. Under the guidance of yoga therapists Malisa Bobbitt and Kori Moore-Gibson, patients’ bodies begin to heal and rebalance naturally, helping one to feel healthier, happier and more alive.
Carol C., a patient of Dr. James, expressed, “With yoga therapy, I could tap into the key ingredients for creating long–lasting health and wellness. As I practiced, I learned how to reconnect with my body and myself. Not only did I heal a series of chronic ailments, but I also lost weight by adding a full-body exercise routine to my daily regime.”
Additionally, balance poses in yoga invite you to get out of your head and into your body. Yoga gives you healing tools to better cope with stressful events and trauma, says James. It can bring your awareness to the tension being held in your body, allowing you to let that tension go.
Craniosacral Therapy, provided by Licensed Massage Therapist Jan Michael Meade, is a gentle, noninvasive form of bodywork that addresses the whole body and person through the nervous system with subtle, light touch and deep listening. The goal is to assist the nervous system transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic, or from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest.” CST helps release compression and blockages in those areas where there is cumulative stress or deficiency weakness. Cranial sacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones and can decrease stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck and back pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (the inflammation of the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) and more.
According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Often, migraines are triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. In a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who received bodywork like Craniosacral Therapy had better quality sleep and fewer migraines than participants who didn’t. Effects lasted up to three weeks after therapy ended. Since Craniosacral Therapy is supportive to the whole person, there is no limitation to the help it can provide for a patient’s symptoms. It is a direct practice of the art of active relaxation and is based on reconnecting the patient to the core self.
Acupuncture involves needles, heat, pressure and other treatments that are applied to certain places on the skin. Chronic Pain Acupuncture has long been recognized as an effective treatment. In 2012, a study found acupuncture was better than no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture for the treatment of four chronic pain conditions:
- Back and neck pain
- Osteoarthritis (also known as “degenerative joint disease” or “wear and tear arthritis”)
- Chronic headache
- Shoulder pain
Through 16 years of medical study and a residency in Tucson, James’s milestone achievements include a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience from Bates College in Maine; a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health; a Fulbright scholarship for medical research; a master’s degree in health science and international health policy from Johns Hopkins University; and a Yale University Doctor of Medicine degree. In addition to helping patients, James loves mentoring students, hiking with friends, dancing in the kitchen with her two toddlers and entertaining at home with her husband.
“I am attracted to medicine because you can literally save lives, which is incredibly rewarding as a physician,” she explained. “You can do so much to immediately improve the quality of life for patients. That’s why I was drawn to surgery and the self-healing power of the human body. The results are so tangible and rewarding.” QCBN
By Donna Werking
Dr. Whitney James, M.D. PC, is a neuromodulatory surgeon. To learn more about her practice, visit drwhitneyjames.com, follow her on Instagram at @girlneurosurgeon, or call her office at 928-212-1479.