Dr. Paul Christo joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 2001 after completing his fellowship in Pain Medicine. He served as the Director of the Blaustein Pain Treatment Center from 2003 to 2008 and as Director of the Multidisciplinary Pain Fellowship Program from 2003 to 2011. Dr. Christo treats a wide variety of patients with chronic pain, including those with back and neck pain, neuropathic pain (shingles pain and complex regional pain syndrome, for example) and those with pain related to cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, bone cancer, pelvic cancers, and multiple myeloma. Depending on the needs of the patient, Dr. Christo may prescribe medication or use implantable devices, such as a spinal cord stimulator or drug infusion pump.
Dr. Christo’s main area of interest is in treating patients with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS), a condition in which compression of a nerve in the neck causes severe neck, shoulder, and arm pain as well as arm tingling and weakness. It usually occurs when abnormal muscle enlargement or scar tissue compresses the underlying nerve. It can be caused by overuse of the arms in an overhead position, such as in athletes, or potentially from whiplash injuries. Dr. Christo performs anesthetic blocks of the muscle to help diagnose the syndrome. If NTOS is confirmed, Dr. Christo may inject Botox into the muscle to alleviate pain symptoms using a CT-guided procedure that he helped to develop. Alternatively, he may refer the patient to a surgeon who will relieve the compression. In the future, Dr. Christo would also like to investigate the use of spinal cord stimulation for patients with persistent abdominal or pelvic pain.
In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Christo hosts a weekly national radio show on SIRIUS XM Radio that focuses on overcoming pain. Each episode of the show, called Aches and Gains, spotlights a different pain-related topic. Past episodes have discussed headaches, knee pain, and the war on opioids. The show airs Saturdays from 5:00 to 6:00 pm.
Dr. Christo is the recipient of the 2016 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award. This prestigious award recognizes distinguished contributions to the field of pain through education, public service, or other efforts that further knowledge about pain. He has also been named one of America’s top doctors in pain medicine since 2006, and was an American Academy of Pain Medicine/Pfizer visiting professor in pain medicine in 2010.
Education: After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1990, Dr. Christo attended medical school at the University of Louisville School of Medicine from 1991 to 1995. He completed his residency in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital in 2000 and a fellowship in Pain Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in 2001. He also earned his MBA at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in 2006.