Meet Your New York Pelvic Pain Specialist: Dr. Neha James
Dr. Neha James, DO is a board-certified trained physiatrist and women’s and men’s health and sexual health provider and pelvic pain specialist. As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician with a strong background in helping patients overcome the physical after-effects of illness and injury, Dr. James takes an approach to treatment that places the utmost emphasis on compassion, communication, and patient education. She has considerable knowledge and expertise on treating pelvic pain conditions and aiding recovery from a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and medical events.
GET TO KNOW YOUR DOCTOR
WHY DID YOU BECOME A DOCTOR?
My mother is an OB/GYN nurse practitioner and midwife, and my sister is an internal medicine doctor, so I like to say that I was raised in medicine. During medical school, I became more and more concerned about the serious functional challenges that illnesses can create in the body, and that fueled an interest in physiatry and learning how to help patients recover and improve their quality of life.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO TREATMENT?
I believe very strongly in patient education. I think it’s so important to help patients fully understand the thought process behind a diagnosis and treatment plan so they can make empowered, informed decisions. When you suffer from an untreated pain disorder, it can create a feeling of disconnect between you and your body, and empowerment is key to healing this divide.
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING PRM'S COMMUNITY OF PATIENTS?
I got interested in PRM’s work and in pelvic pain after having my own struggles with pelvic pain symptoms while I was in medical school and residency. Even during my medical training working under some of the best attending physicians in the country with so many resources at my disposal, it was still very difficult to find a diagnosis. I knew that I had to pay it forward to this patient population and use my knowledge to help others.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE PATIENT CARE?
I try to have a very relaxed and empathetic approach to patient care. I want patients to feel involved in medical decision making, instead of feeling bossed around or dismissed. I use a trauma-informed approach to the physical exam to make sure patients feel comfortable and in control. It’s sensitive, having pain in the pelvic region. The safer a patient feels, the easier it is to find solutions.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Honestly, it’s just fun to help my patients feel better. When patients tell me they had pain-free sex for the first time, or were able to wear a tampon comfortably, or used the bathroom without straining or discomfort, it’s the best feeling. I always celebrate with them and feel so proud of them.
WHAT DOES PRM'S MISSION OF "DECREASING THE TIME PATIENTS ARE SUFFERING WITH PELVIC PAIN" MEAN TO YOU?
As someone who went through this experience, I personally understand the frustration and isolation that comes with chasing a diagnosis for years and years. Part of the reason patients search for so long is because there’s still not a lot of awareness about pelvic health. Our mission is to create awareness not only about symptoms and diagnosis, but also about effective treatments. I want patients to know they aren’t beyond help, even in cases where pain has been stubborn for years or decades. We’ve treated many patients that have struggled for a long time who are still able to find relief and even symptom resolution with us.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HELPING THE POPULATION OF WOMEN SUFFERING WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS?
It is very surprising how little awareness there is about endometriosis in this day and age. We’ve made some great strides with social media advocacy and legislative progress, but a lot of physicians generally are undereducated on the presentation of endo symptoms. It’s not unusual for us to see a patient with a clinical history very suspicious for endometriosis who had never even heard of the diagnosis before from their other providers. There’s also unfortunately still many surgeons who believe that ablation is adequate for surgical management when we know that excision is the gold standard. That’s why it’s so important to work with a pelvic pain specialist that specializes in endometriosis to get to the root of the issue.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT PELVIC HEALTH?
There’s unfortunately still a cultural stigma around any type of sexual, genital, reproductive, or pelvic health issues. We receive a lot of unnecessary shaming throughout our lives in regard to these topics, and I think that can hinder patients from reaching out for needed medical care. I want patients to know that I’m here to give them the help they deserve, free from judgment.
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
After receiving her B.S./D.O. from the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. James completed her internship and residency in PM&R at the University of Minnesota. She then joined Hennepin Healthcare in downtown Minneapolis as an attending physician and served as site director and assistant professor for the University of Minnesota PM&R residency program.
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS & AFFILIATIONS
International Pelvic Pain Society
American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Global Health Alliance Membership
PRM CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Dr. James continually provides educational content for PRM’s social media audiences and patients.
Professional Medical Association Memberships