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Pickens County’s latest Dr. Tate widely recognized for work in pain management through modern technology

            Dr. Jordan Tate is your local physiatrist.

            A physiatrist, a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), diagnoses and treats conditions like chronic pain or injuries. Many Americans have never heard the term, but it is common in Europe and the most common specialty in some countries like South Korea.

            The Tate name, on the other hand, is easily recognizable to any Pickens native. The Tates have lived in the area for generations and even the term ‘Dr. Tate’ is not a new one.

            Dr. Jordan Tate, our physiatrist, married Will Tate, the great-grandson of Dr. William Byrd Tate. The earlier Dr. Tate used to ride around on horseback doing house calls (see pic). New Dr. Tate works with cutting-edge machines in a modern office, but has the older Dr. Tate’s saddlebags at home and plans on displaying them at her new office on Old Philadelphia Road.

            Dr. William Byrd’s first cousin was Colonel Sam Tate, the one many of us know of, who built the Tate house and donated the marble to Tate Elementary among other things.

            Most Pickens natives are probably more familiar with that story and the Tate name than with what a physiatrist does, but a lot of doctors around the world would recognize Dr. Jordan Tate.

            In 2020 Dr. Tate published a multi-center study on chronic pelvic pain that has gained world-renowned status in the circles that doctors run in. “In our small space it’s a big deal, so I will consult with people from places like Australia or China and let them know about my findings. It’s just so under-researched that a little study that we did in Georgia was a big deal,” the doctor said.

            For the study Dr. Tate and her colleagues performed spinal cord stimulator trials and implants for patients and followed them out to 12 months.

            To simplify the study and its findings, previous stimulators used 40 hertz, and the new ones used 10,000 hertz. This came out of cochlear implant data, where it was found that when using stimulators to help people hear again, at low frequencies it created tinnitus and buzzing. That is intolerable for most people. Researchers at Stanford and the Mayo Clinic had an idea that if they turned it up really high it would go so fast that it would override any of the negative effects. And they were right.

            From there some smart people got together and said ‘well, why don’t we try this for chronic pain in the spinal cord?’ That question turned into a new brand of spinal cord stimulator, at 10,000 hertz. It came out in 2015 and had revolutionary data for chronic low back pain patients, where they were previously at 40%, 50% success rate, now they were up to 85%.

            “So I started using that brand of spinal cord stimulation and finding a lot of success in back pain,” said Dr. Tate, “but I also had patients telling me ‘by the way doc, this or that doesn’t hurt anymore,’ or ‘I had that problem with my bladder hurting and that’s gone.’ So I was like, oh there’s something going on here, this is also treating pelvic pain.”

            With that hunch, she started her own prospective study on chronic pelvic pain with patients that had an average baseline pain score of 8/10. Average pain score at the end of the study: 2.3. The study was a huge success.

            “That is life changing,” Dr. Tate said.

            The findings have been presented at multiple national and international meetings and was presented on her behalf in Australia at the International Neuromdulation Society meeting the day after Dr. Tate’s third child was born.

            Dr. Tate will continue to do research at Southern Pain and Spine, where they are currently doing some studies on gout and osteoarthritis of the knee.

            They will be enrolling for an osteoarthritis research study soon and anyone can contact them at 678-971-4167 if you think you would be a good candidate.

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