Transforming the Perception of Pain on the Airwaves – Nationally
Dr. Paul Christo has found a new way to engage and educate audiences around the nation and worldwide about pain. As a pain medicine specialist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Paul and a team of specialists have helped patients overcome a wide variety of pain conditions. But it was after his Mayday Fellowship in 2008-2009 that Paul realized the full impact he could have in delivering his messages to a larger audience directly.
With persistent networking and looking for opportunities to expand his reach, he finally connected with someone who put him one step closer to reaching the people who needed to hear what he had to say: pain patients and the public at large. The result? Aches and Gains, the first radio talk show on pain and pain relief hosted by Paul.
The show has aired every Saturday night on WBAL Radio, 1090 AM in Baltimore since 2011. Recently, the show has become national and airs on SIRIUS XM Radio – Family Talk 131 on Saturdays from 8-9 am Eastern. For more information, go to paulchristomd.com.
Since his program launched, Paul has appeared as a pain expert on NPR, and in the Baltimore Sun, among others. We talked with Paul to find out more about Aches and Gains:
- How did this opportunity come about?
Pain is ubiquitous and can alter the course of human life in ways that are unimaginable. We see this everyday in people with conditions like low back pain, headaches, and even arthritis. Yet, there are effective treatments and pain can be attacked in many different ways. I created the show to highlight this problem of universal dimensions, and to illustrate with real stories how to overcome pain.I began planning the show two years before it first aired in February 2011, seeking the guidance of media professionals and talk show hosts. Once the format of the show was developed, I then pitched it to radio stations across the country. Many dismissed the idea of a talk show that featured pain/pain relief as the subject. They asked, “Who would ever be interested in a show about people in pain?” I would counter by saying that a third of the population suffers from pain, so I really do believe that there is an audience for a show like this! It wasn’t until a friend put me in touch with WBAL radio in Baltimore that I had the opportunity to meet the station’s producer and pitch the idea to him. He saw the potential of the show, believed in the concept, and gave me a half hour on Saturdays. I was delighted and grateful!
- What do you hope to accomplish with it?
The show provides compelling stories of people who have found relief, shares cutting-edge treatments from contributing experts, and offers ways that people in pain can cope themselves. Several celebrities with pain, like Naomi Judd, Montel Williams, and AJ Langer, have brought their own stories of success to the show. They make us realize that nobody is immune to pain. Like them, anyone can overcome pain.
- Who is the show’s audience and what do you want them to come away with after listening?
The show reaches a broad audience ranging from those currently in pain to those concerned about developing pain. Since pain can strike us at any stage of life, the show features ways to treat pain that may occur from the beginning of life in infants to the end of life. Everybody should come away with hope, inspiration, and an understanding of real solutions for pain.
- Have you worked with any Mayday Fellows on the show?
So far, I’ve worked with Dr. Bill Zempsky on a show focusing on the pain of sickle cell disease. Then, Dr. Bonnie Stevens was a guest on a show about neonatal and infant pain. I’ve also featured Dr. Kathleen Foley, a member of the Mayday Fellowship Advisory Committee, who eases our fears about dying a painful death. I look forward to working in the future with more Mayday Fellows on shows that target many other pain conditions.
Dr. Paul Christo, MD, is a 2008-9 Mayday fellow and Director of Multidisciplinary Pain Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.