Physician Spotlight | Marc Orlando, MD
Marc Orlando, MD, is an interventional specialist with board certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) at The Christ Hospital Spine Surgery Center. Also known as a physiatrist, he helps patients overcome pain, usually without surgery. Although the pain he treats most often originates in the spine, he also helps patients who suffer debilitating musculoskeletal pain.
A highly sought-after specialist, Dr. Orlando performs about 4,000 spine procedures a year and has logged more than 35,000 during his 15-year career.
The key to helping patients with pain, he says, is “to listen, to trust in the patient, and to believe in the patient and put yourself in his or her shoes.”
Dr. Orlando helps patients age 16 and over in a variety of ways. He specializes in interventional spinal treatments and therapies, including transforaminal epidural steroid injections, spinal cord stimulator placement, and facet injections. Dr. Orlando performs joint injections with steroids, and he prescribes medication, therapeutic exercise programs, acupuncture, braces, and occasionally chiropractic care. “The goal is to keep people moving,” he says.
Some of his biggest rewards involve “helping a person who was devastated by pain get back to the workforce and day-to-day activities while sparing them misery or the need for surgery.” Dr. Orlando’s patients include:
- A young police officer who ruptured a disc in his back while jumping over a desk during training.
- A 16-year-old field hockey player who suffered a freak ankle injury that left her with intractable pain.
- A woman in her 80′s who is not a candidate for surgery but who receives an epidural shot every 4 to 6 months so that she can walk.
- A patient with spine scoliosis who can’t have surgery but whose prescription narcotic enables her to hold her job and remain active with her grandchildren.
Dr. Orlando developed an interest in healthcare from his mother, a nurse, and a doctor who was the father of one of his best friends. After high school he enrolled at Bowling Green State University on a track scholarship with plans to become an athletic trainer. As he moved through his coursework, always at or near the top of his class, he qualified for one of 24 coveted spots in a physical therapy program that was conducted jointly with the University of Toledo at the Medical College of Ohio. He graduated magna cum laude and went to work for two years as an assistant trainer for the Poland, Ohio, football team.
Then, at the encouragement of his godfather, Dr. Orlando took another look at his career and the possibility of a future in medicine. After taking an additional science course and the MCAT exam, he applied to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and was accepted. He remained at UC after graduation, performing his residency in a five-year program that combined Internal Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Orlando, who is today board-certified, went into private practice with Group Health Associates in 1998, becoming their first rehabilitation specialist. Three years later he became Medical Director of their new musculoskeletal department, which grew from a multidisciplinary core of 7 to more than 25 today.
During his lifelong commitment to medical education, Dr. Orlando has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and continues to mentor medical students through his Tri-Health affiliations. An avid public speaker, he raises awareness about back health and back pain through community events and forums, and he shares his expertise with the medical community and support staff at continuing education conferences.
Over the years Dr. Orlando honed his craft and became one of the region’s most sought-after experts in interventional spine procedures and rehabilitative care. He has been voted a “Top Doctor” in pain management and physical medicine & rehabilitation by his peers in Cincinnati Magazine’s annual survey since 2007, and he has been listed by the Consumers’ Research Council of America in its Guide to America’s Top Physicians since 2010.
He believes that among the great challenges of his field are patients who have suffered devastating physical deficits as a result of a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or stroke. “It is very frustrating as a physician to see someone who once was perfectly independent and functional who then suffers this major, life-changing event,” he says. “You wish you could go back or do something to erase the event, but unfortunately, there are limitations to medicine and what we can do. Much of what we do involves helping people realistically accept their limitations, improve their function, and get back to a better quality of life.”
Away from the office, Dr. Orlando is a family man: husband, father to five children, churchgoer, and coach. He has coached youth football for 10 years and youth baseball for 12. He and his family remain active within the Mason, Ohio, community.
He recently was named to Medtronic’s advisory board for PM&R. In addition to The Christ Hospital Spine Surgery Center, Dr. Orlando performs procedures at Bethesda North Hospital, Bethesda Butler County Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Mercy Hospital Mount Airy.