Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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imaging suite with a CT scanner, X-ray machine and DEXA scanner, an outpatient surgery center and a rehab and physical therapy department. Also, just down the street at 2201 Regency Road is the building where the Center’s behavioral medicine specialists work.

Patients generally come to the Center upon referral from their primary care physician or another specialist.

“The majority of our patients come because they have seen other providers who have not been able to manage or take care of their pain,” Heather said. “They realize they need a specialist in pain management.”

New patients undergo an evaluation where all necessary paperwork, medical records and information are gathered and assessed.

“When we get the referral in, we want to get as many records as possible to review the patient’s pain history, to identify what pain control techniques have been tried by other physicians and discern how we can take over,” Heather said. “We are always encouraging our referring providers to refer patients to us sooner, because the sooner we can get them in to see one of our specialists, the better chance we have to give the patient relief from their chronic pain.”

After the new patient coordinator does an initial review of their records, patients are scheduled to see the physician that can best assist them with their pain problem. The physician then performs an examination on the patient and creates an individualized treat- ment plan for him or her. The patient is encouraged to be active, involved and committed to the treatment plan, including seeing the behavioral medicine specialist, performing physical therapy exercises and taking medications responsibly and appropriately.

“The best patient is the one who is going to be part of the program,” Heather said. “If they take

“We treat all different kinds of pain and pain issues, whether the pain arises from an injury, illness or disease,” said Heather Wright, CEO of the Pain Treatment Center. “If someone has chronic pain and they are referred to us, we will work with them to manage or alleviate their pain. Pain medicine is a necessary specialty.”

The Center started in the late 1980s with Heather’s father, Dr. Ballard Wright, an anesthesiologist. At the time, pain management was one of the newer disciplines in medicine.

“As anesthesiologists relieving pain during surgery, my father and his colleagues realized people were walking around with chronic pain and there were procedures anesthesiologists could do to make it better,” Heather said. “They were interventionalists. They were performing epidurals and other procedures that ensured patients didn’t have pain during childbirth or surgery.”

Dr. Wright and his colleagues discovered they could perform some of these same interventional techniques in an outpatient setting to help patients in chronic pain. He started working more in the pain management field. In 1988, he opened his physician practice, Ballard Wright, MD, PSC. He became board certified in pain management and in 1993 obtained a license for a surgery center, The Pain Treatment Center, Inc. (dba Stone Road Surgery Center).


“Since then we’ve been operating both the physician practice and the surgery center as The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass,” Heather said.

“We’ve expanded from one building on the corner of Regency Road and Pasadena Drive to three buildings within this perimeter. We have 10 physicians from different specialties, most of whom are also board certified in pain management, and they all practice pain medicine. We have anesthesiologists, neurologists, physical medicine and rehab doctors, internal and family medicine doctors, an addiction medicine specialist and a palliative care physician.”

All these specialists work together to evaluate patients with an end goal of alleviating their chronic pain. “Neurologists study how the brain and its pain receptors work,” Heather said. “The physical medicine and rehab doctors look at how the body moves and functions.”

The Center’s physicians utilize techniques from each specialty to diagnose and treat their patients, from interventional procedures to physical therapy and behavioral medicine to appropriate medications. The different departments and services facilitate the physicians’ treatment. The Center has an on-site lab, an

ownership of it and they want to get better, that goes a long way. We can work with you, but you need to want to do it.”

Another important component of the Center is its behavioral medicine department. Effective pain management requires treatment of both mind and body. Patients in pain often feel anxious, stressed, hopeless and depressed. The behavioral medicine department, which includes a psychiatric nurse practitioner and two licensed clinical social workers, addresses the emotional and psychological aspects of pain.

“Patients dealing with chronic pain have a variety of issues,” Heather said. “They are often dealing with a loss of ability to do things they enjoyed – gardening, picking up their children or grandchildren, playing sports, exercising – because they’re having this pain. They may be dealing with a loss of work because they can’t perform their job anymore. They may even be dealing with family members who now see them as victims or disabled.”

Working with a behavioral medicine specialist, patients learn coping skills to handle the psychological components of pain. These techniques help patients feel more in control of their situations.

The behavioral medicine specialists are also attuned to the possibility of addiction. “We use behavioral medicine to evaluate if somebody has the potential to have an addictive component to their personality,” Heather said. “We are always careful in how we prescribe medication, but we need to be very careful with those patients who have an addictive component.”

The physical therapy department works closely with patients, teaching them to strengthen certain muscles to alleviate pain and helping them learn to move better. The one-on-one interactions include simple, quick exercises and activities patients can do on their own.

“It all works together – interventional procedures, physical therapy, behavioral medicine and pain medication,” said Heather. “There are a lot of people out there who have pain and have legitimate reasons for needing to be seen by a pain specialist. Our goal at The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass is to help alleviate or manage our patients’ pain and get them a better quality of life. That is our mission.”


Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler



Ballard Wright, MD, PSC

The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass 280 Pasadena Dr.  |  2416 Regency Rd. and 2201 Regency Rd., Bldg. 100 Lexington, KY 40503

Phone: (859) 278-1316  |  Fax: (859) 276-3847