About Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi
Joseph Pergolizzi, Jr., MD, is a leading pain physician who combines the latest medical advances and scientific breakthroughs with a profound professional compassion for patients facing painful, life-altering conditions.
Dr. Pergolizzi earned his BS in physical chemistry from St. John’s University and an MD with the highest honors from Ross University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in anesthesia at Georgetown University School of Medicine and a clinical research fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is currently a senior partner at Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates, Inc.
As a physician, inventor, research scientist, and advocate for pain patients, Dr. Pergolizzi has authored over 350 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, platform presentations, and book chapters.
Pain is the #1 reason people seek a doctor’s care
Early in Dr. Pergolizzi's career, he was concerned that pain patients “had no voice” and were unnecessarily suffering in silence, afraid of the side effects of common pain treatment options. Since that time, Dr. Pergolizzi has been working tirelessly to overcome that fear and get his patients on the road to recovery by offering a wide range of treatment options best suited to each individual’s needs.
Dr. Pergolizzi’s approach is to treat pain immediately, because pain left untreated becomes harder to treat and can actually cause the body to become “hard wired” for chronic pain. In addition, he recognizes that many of his patients need a combination of options to effectively alleviate their pain—there’s no magic bullet. He assesses and takes into account the severity of an individual’s pain, along with its impact on their psychological and social well-being, to design a holistic treatment plan best suited to their overall well-being.
Effectively target pain with a variety of approaches
By using both multimodal and multi-mechanistic approaches to pain treatment, Dr. Pergolizzi can more effectively treat patients with pain. Multimodal regimens combine both pharmacological (topical and oral treatments) and non-pharmacological (rest, cold packs, exercise, physical therapy) tactics to create a personalized treatment plan that works for each patient. Multi-mechanistic refers to Dr. Pergolizzi’s philosophy of combining therapies that work in different ways, or along different points of the pain pathway. This may include topical remedies containing ingredients that work differently but effectively together (menthol and methyl salicylate, for example), or a combination of prescriptions or supplements that target pain from multiple angles.
“First, do no harm” is particularly critical in pain medicine
Dr. Pergolizzi takes a “more isn’t always better” approach to pain management. He always begins treatment with the least invasive options, such as topical pain relievers, before progressing to oral agents or medications as needed—and always at the lowest effective dose, to minimize side effects.
The surprising power of hyper-oxygenated oil
One of Dr. Pergolizzi’s most significant breakthroughs came when he began to research the history of highly oxygenated oils that have been used as topical pain relievers throughout history. For example, the Spartans of ancient Rome would rub oil onto their bodies before going into battle. In those days, the oil was made from local flowering plants and then left to ferment in the sun for up to 20 years, infusing the oil with oxygen. When massaged in, the action of the rubbing in the soothing oil helps accelerate blood flow deep in the superficial vascular network.
Just a few years ago, Dr. Pergolizzi’s research led him to a French scientist who had recently perfected a way of replicating the 20-year oxygenation process in just three days. The result was a hyper-oxygenated oil that could be produced quickly. Using his multi-mechanistic methodology, Dr. Pergolizzi combined this oxygenated oil with pain-relieving menthol, producing his Instaflex Pain Cream formula, now shown in a clinical study to be nearly twice as effective as a comparable menthol-only pain cream.
In addition to actively practicing at Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates, Inc., Dr. Pergolizzi is an editorial board member/reviewer for many well-known medical journals, including JAMA, Pain Practice, Experimental Medicine, Journal of Pain Research, American Journal of Managed Care, and Pain Medicine, and a regular lecturer at medical schools, health systems, and medical symposia across the United States and Europe.
- Chief Operating Officer of NEMA Research in Naples, Florida
- Chairman of the Abstract and Poster Selection Committee for PAINWeek
- Member of the CHANGE PAIN Board
- Recipient of the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award with Commendation
- Co-Chairman, IRB NEMA Research, Inc.
- Pain Research Forum Advisory Panel
- National Pain Foundation Clinical and Scientific Advisory Council and Consultant
- The Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association Member
- The Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association Member
- The Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physician
- 2018 Top Doctor Award – Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
- 2018 Top Doctor Award – Critical Care Medicine
In the News
- FDA Updates REMS Policy on Access To Opioids During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi, Jr. is Elected to the American Health Council’s Physician Board
- The Use of Peripheral μ-Opioid Receptor Antagonists (PAMORA) in the Management of Opioid-Induced Constipation: An Update on Their Efficacy and Safety
- American Health Council Honors Joseph Pergolizzi, Jr., MD as Best in Medicine