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Viji Shankar, MD

About

When first meeting with patients, Dr. Viji Shankar will often listen as they confide to her how much pain they have endured over the years. They have trouble or can no longer perform daily tasks like getting out of bed and brushing their teeth thus reducing their quality of life.

As an interventional and chronic pain specialist and physiatrist, Dr. Shankar is driven to help these patients get their lives back through a multi-modal approach aimed at ending or managing their pain. After sessions with patients, many will tell her how they can now do everyday tasks. “They get so much enjoyment out of it because they were not able to do it before,” she said. “That really makes me so happy because the patient is doing so well. I feel like I was able to help them to make them happy. That drives me to do this.”

Joining the National Spine and Pain Centers in January 2020, Dr. Shankar brings a decade of experience in the pain management field. Earning her medical degree from Madras Medical College in Chennai, India, Dr. Shankar completed both her internship in general surgery and residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.

During her residency, she did a two-month rotation in pain management and fell in love with the field. She finished her fellowship in interventional and chronic pain management at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Shankar worked at the Pennsylvania-based Medical Rehabilitation Inc. for 10 years before coming to NSPC.

When putting together a treatment plan, she aims to have her patients on as few medications as possible in favor of finding relief through a multi-modal approach including various interventional procedures under fluoroscopic guidance inducing nerve root block, epidurals, sacroiliac joint injunction and radiofrequency ablation.

A people person, Dr. Shankar notes many of her patients will say after an appointment that she explained everything in their treatment plan as well as cleared away all their doubts. “They say ‘Thank you for spending this much time with me’,” she said.

Her goal is to help the patient by making them feel better and increasing their quality of life. “That is what drives me to work because a lot of people are in pain,” she said. “...If you are able to help the patient relieve their pain, it is a big thing for the patient.”

Away from the office, Dr. Shankar has completed 13 marathons so far and goes to the gym almost six days a week. She also enjoys cooking Indian cuisine as well as watching movies, traveling and shopping.

Affiliations Fayetteville
Education
  • Fellowship
  • West Penn Hospital United States Pittsburgh, PA 2010
  • Medical School
  • Madras Medical College India Park Town 1994
  • Residency
  • UPMC Pittsburgh, PA United States Pittsburgh, PA 2006