Lisa Brown, MD, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, employs a variety of methods to help patients with chronic pain

191114 U5794 1219
Pain management specialist Lisa Brown, MD, of University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, also serves as a reservist in the U.S. Air Force——working as a flight surgeon. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Ken McEntee

A hurting patient typically will be asked to communicate his or her pain on a scale from one to 10. But pain, argues Lisa Brown, MD, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, isn’t about numbers.

“My philosophy isn’t about whether your pain level is at five or seven, but rather what is your ability to function?” Dr. Brown explains. “Are you able to do daily activities? Helping my patients get back to as normal a life as soon as possible is what I’m most concerned about.”

Depending on each patient’s circumstances, Dr. Brown utilizes a variety of methods to manage pain—including the use of narcotics.

“Because of the opioid epidemic, many patients feel that there is a stigma attached to taking narcotics and they don’t want to be branded as drug abusers,” she says.

“For some patients, narcotics are still the best option, yet many of them are going cold turkey off their medications. I believe in prescribing responsibly, and being fellowship trained in pain management, I have historically educated physicians in the local area about responsible prescribing long before the opioid epidemic was talked about.”

Prescribing responsibly, she says, partly entails strictly following Ohio’s new opioid prescription rules for chronic and acute pain.

“We’ve learned that there is a strong genetic connection to opioid addiction, and if you have an addiction problem, I’m not going to treat you with a narcotic,” Dr. Brown says. “When I do prescribe narcotics, I monitor my patients very closely and document everything.”

Dr. Brown joined UH Geauga Medical Center in 2007, and opened the campus’ Comprehensive Pain Management Center in 2010.

“My goal was to be a comprehensive pain management facility, and that’s what we have become,” she says.

Treatments can range from non-invasive anti-inflammatory medications and injections to surgically implanted pain medicine pumps and spinal cord stimulators.

“My patients know me for two things,” Dr. Brown emphasizes. “One is that I am going to manage their expectations. I’m going to be honest, and I’m going to work on a personal treatment plan that will be the best to restore your functionality.”

Second, she pledges, “I am not going to abandon you. If narcotics are a problem for you, maybe we can lower the dose, or maybe we have to try some other pain management modalities.”

Dr. Brown also goes by the title of Lieutenant Colonel.

“My job is to ensure the health and safety of all flight personnel,” she says. “It’s one of the most exciting things I do.”

Since shortly after 9/11, she has served as a reservist in the U.S. Air Force—working as a flight surgeon during the past four years. She just returned last month from a three-month deployment.

“The U.S. Air Force is a completely different population from my patients here,” she says. “But serving both of those populations makes me feel very blessed to be able to take part in improving patients’ lives.”

If chronic pain caused by an injury, illness, surgery or the effects of aging is interfering with your life, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Lisa Brown by calling 440-901-1614. University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center is located at 13207 Ravenna Road, in Chardon. You can learn more at