For the past decade, southwest Oklahoma City physician Darryl Robinson has specialized in the non-operative treatment of neck and spine pain, caused mostly by accidents or normal disk degeneration.
His staff — which today numbers 17 — has been able to stabilize the pain of many Oklahomans so they could function, Robinson said.
Still, he said, about one-third of his patients don't improve as expected, even using every conventional tool available.
The statistic spurred Robinson on a quest that ultimately led to his opening in October a medical spa adjacent to his pain management practice at 3110 SW 89. Along with hormone replacement therapy and natural anti-inflammatory agents, which are used to ease pain patients' depression, fatigue and pain, Longevity offers weight-loss programs, aesthetic treatments and more.
“The business of beauty and wellness is expected to grow exponentially, largely because of aging baby boomers,” said Robinson, 44, who recently became certified with the Florida-based American Academy of Anti-Aging.
He sat down with The Oklahoman recently to talk about his professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:
Q: Tell us about your roots.
A: I was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and have a sister three years younger. My mother was a nurse, and my father worked in management for Philip Morris Cigarettes. In high school, I ran track, and played basketball and football (quarterback and free safety).
I always did well in school and decided as a sophomore to become a physician. As a kid, I was intrigued by how packed our doctor's waiting room was and figured he must have an important job. I earned my undergraduate, in zoology and chemistry, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and studied medicine at the Medical College of Virginia.
Q: Did you set out to practice pain management?
A: No. Originally it was radiology. I was commissioned as a captain into the U.S. Army and was awarded a scholarship for an internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. But I decided as an intern I wanted more patient contact.
Before pursuing a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, I paid back my obligation and worked as a general medical officer in active duty from 1996 through 1998 at Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, Ga.
Q: What brought you to Oklahoma?
A: I came in 2001, after my residency, to complete a subspecialty fellowship in pain management at St. Anthony Hospital via Baylor University.
It was only for one year, and I almost didn't move my family. But my wife really bonded with Edmond. And I had a good practice opportunity to stay and join a group — Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopedics.
Q: What are your most popular services on the medical spa side of your practice?
A: Medical weight loss programs and laser skin treatments. We're among only a few places in town that have invested in a particular $130,000 laser. We've always known that broadband light can even out skin tones and treat wrinkles and broken blood vessels. But recent studies at Stanford show the laser we purchased also can change the gene sequences of your skin so that it's more similar to younger skin.
Q: What's your best advice for living a healthy lifestyle?
A: Use sunscreen; exercise; avoid sugary drinks; and eat fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Any food that comes in a box, bag or bottle is likely processed and bad for you.