Like many physicians, Dr. Chris Bovinet and Dr. Manny Gage went into the medical profession driven by a sincere desire to help others.
For Dr. Gage, that began at home, growing up in Ohio. “My father is a Byzantine Catholic priest, and my mother was a nurse. So you could say I grew up with great examples of putting others before yourself,” he said.
An exceptional student, Dr. Gage scored high enough on entrance exams to be accepted to medical school at University of Toledo Medical College without even having to take the MCAT, the medical school entrance exam.
He attended the University of Toledo Medical College, later completing a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency. That was followed by an anesthesia based pain medicine fellowship, focusing on interventional pain management.
“I was lucky to train with a great physician, Dr. Joseph Atallah, where we had great exposure to all types of acute and chronic pain conditions,” Gage noted.
Like Dr. Gage, Dr. Bovinet was a strong student and valedictorian who also felt the call toward medicine at an early age.
“I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since I was 8-years-old. That passion only grew stronger as I learned more about anatomy and physiology,” he said.
Dr. Bovinet attended college in Cleveland, Tennessee, later moving on to medical school at Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“I did my internship in Michigan and then completed a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at the prestigious Medical College of Virginia (MCV).” Bovinet said. He stayed at MCV serving as chief fellow for their accredited interventional pain management fellowship.
Today, Dr. Bovinet serves as the medical director of the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia and their Ambulatory Surgery Center, the Brunswick Pain Treatment Center.
“I am also a ‘Director-at-Large’ for our state society called The Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians,” he said.
There, Dr. Bovinet works with Gage to relieve pain and suffering stemming from a number of sources.
There are those with acute or chronic pain in the neck or back, which can make life nearly unbearable in many cases. Often times, patients are frustrated after having tried seemingly endless techniques and procedures, even surgery.
But their extensive experience and impeccable credentials, Drs. Bovinet and Gage offer hope and relief from pain.
“Typically, most patients want to avoid spine surgery. I’m great about bridging the gap if conservative care fails and preventing invasive spine surgery. I specialize in reducing pain, restoring function and getting your life back. I also treat joint pain in the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc,” Dr. Bovinet said.
Dr. Gage agrees, noting that taking a hands-on approach, extensively reviewing their patients’ symptoms and medical histories. The doctors then formulate an individualized plan for each patient.
“What sets us apart from other clinics in the area is our dual board certifications, our training and our goals,” he said.
“Our initial training in physical medicine and rehabilitation is all about getting patients back to a functional basis with a return to their prior quality of life. We not only want to get the correct diagnoses, but then resolve the pain issues so patients can get back to a normal life style.”
One of their most effective methods of treatment is called interventional pain management. Rather than opting to mask pain with heavy medications or pursuing surgery, Drs. Bovinet and Gage offer a multitude of safer and less invasion options including stem cell injections, radio-frequency ablations to reduce chronic arthritis pain, as well as new technologies for spinal cord stimulation and for spinal stenosis.
“We were the first clinic in Georgia to perform the Superion implant for lumbar stenosis. It is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed through a less than 1 inch incision done in less than 1 hour,” Dr. Gage said.
“We also offer the most advanced and up to date treatments for patients who continue to have pain following spine surgery. We have had over a 90 percent success rate over the last 2 years in treating patients with post spinal surgery pain using Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy.”
For both doctors, the goal remains a simple one — help patients get back to living a full, pain free life while treating them the way they would want their families to be treated.
“My approach is rather simple, I treat patients how I would want my parents to be treated. I spend a lot of time to actually listen to a patient, listen to their history and symptoms,” Dr. Gage said.
“I treat patients how I would want myself or my family to be treated. Just be caring, compassionate, listen to the patients story, review the imaging with them so they can ‘see’ what’s going on, and then perform a thorough physical exam to confirm the diagnosis with the patient,” he said.
“Together we formulate the best treatment plan for each patient. Not all injections are the same or treat the same problems.”
The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia has clinic locations in Brunswick and St. Marys.