Podcast-An Interview With Dr. Robert Bonakdar

Dr. Robert Bonakdar Interview Image

Dr. Bonakdar recently visited Samueli Institute to discuss his journey in integrating the practices of integrative medicine. He currently holds the title, Director of the American Academy of Pain Management in addition to working as a Director of Pain Management at the Scripps Center for Pain Management in California. When asked how he got started, Dr. Bonakdar explained that what Americans call alternative medicine, is not as foreign to him.

Born in Iran, Dr. Bonakdar learned of integrative medical practices like mind-body therapy and Tai Chi at a young age. In his homeland, these practices are primal and others like prescription medication are secondary and sometimes forbidden. His vision for pain management practice is to help make so-called alternative medicine, more prominent in the United States.

“We need a huge transformation. We need more individualized pain care, not just specifically what the guidelines say; and a lot more self-care.”

His current approach involves offering alternative pain management treatment as a first choice or after patients have exhausted all other forms of treatment, including medication. In his practice, he often finds that many patients are not healing from conventional practices because the root of their problem is not what it appears. Sometimes chronic pain comes from injuries and strain, but other times, it comes from stress. Dr. Bonakdar strives to look at the whole picture to heal his patients.

“How can condition ‘X’ fit the entire picture and how can you then approach this complex picture in a way that’s patient’s centered.”

Acknowledging that there has been considerable evidence that integrative medicine heals patients, Dr. Bonakdar is looking for ways to make some integrative treatments standard in healing patients with chronic pain.