Alan Gonzalez-Cota, MD, FIPP


I specialize in complex intractable pain syndromes, particularly reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD or CRPS), persistent pain after spine surgery, and pelvic pain. Most of my patients have tried multiple medications which have failed. Some patients had injuries, and after healing, their pain persists.

Physicians not only have a duty to preserve life, but also to maintain a high quality of life. Intractable pain is there day and night, never ends, can produce depression, suppress the immune system, and produce PTSD as patients lose their job and their usual self.

There is a whole new way of thinking about pain (see "The Human Blueprint" article) and the interaction between the immune system and nerve cells. My approach is to educate my patients on the latest research and to provide treatment options based on the best scientific evidence available. I use some medications based on recent studies: microglia, neuroinflammation, toll-like receptors interactions, etc. This new research explains a strange phenomenon called "opioid induced hyperalgesia" (OIH) -- when opioid medications cause pain.

I recommend cognitive-behavioral interventions, physical therapy, home exercise, and a nutrient-dense diet to all patients in chronic pain. They typically reduce pain and can be very cost-effective in some patients. I sometimes see profound relief with medications but is not the norm. When pain is intractable and the patient’s mental and physical health is deteriorating, I may offer minimally invasive interventions to repair damaged tissues, regenerate cells, modulate painful neuronal signals, or to suppress inflammation directly in the pain generators to restore the patient's mind and the body’s balance (homeostasis). With healthcare costs going up, I prefer to work in the outpatient setting in facilities with the highest standards of accreditation (learn more about our Outpatient Surgery Center here).

I am board certified in Pain Medicine by the American Board of Medical Specialties and in Interventional Pain Practice by the World Institute of Pain Board with a primary interest neuroimmunopharmacology.

Post-Graduate Training:

Pain Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School
General Surgery, St. Josephs Mercy Ann Arbor - University of Michigan Medical School Affiliate
Pain Research, University of California San Diego

Awards & Honors:

Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA) Annual Meeting 2011, Best Scientific Poster Award
American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA) Annual Meeting 2010, Best of Meeting Award
University of Michigan, Anesthesiology Residency Class 2010, Peter J. Cohen Award
Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), 2009 Resident Scholar Award
American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) Annual Meeting 2009, Best of Meeting Award

Professional Society Membership:

The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland (MedChi)
Montgomery County Medical Society (MCMS)
Delaware Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (DSIPP)
Medical Society of Delaware (MSD)
Spine Intervention Society (SIS)
American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP)
Scholar, General Medical Education, University of Michigan
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

Professional Affiliations & Volunteering:

Spine Intervention Society: Evidence-Based Medicine Committee, 2014-Present
Past CEO & President, Delaware Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (DSIPP): 2012-2015
Past Council Member, Medical Society of Delaware (MSD): 2014-2015


Gonzalez-Cota A, Chiravuri S, Hamstra S. The effect of Model Fidelity on Transforaminal Epidural Training. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. 2013; 38 (2)
Gonzalez-Cota A, Kruger G, Reynolds P. Computational Modeling and Prototyping of a Pediatric Airway Management Instrument. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2010; 111(3) 649-652
Gonzalez A, Varon J. Non-Invasive Ventilation: When does it fail? Crit Care & Shock. 2005; 7 (3): 15
Neubert P, Gonzalez A, Varon J, Marik PE. Pulmonary Artery Catheters: A time for Reevaluation? Crit Care & Shock. 2003; 6: 65
Varon J, Gonzalez A, Sternbach GL, Marik PE. Tracheal Rupture: Airway Catastrophe Associated with Intubation. Crit Care & Shock. 2003; 6: 16
Varon J, de-Gorordo A, Gonzalez A. Diving Emergencies. Crit Care & Shock. 2003; 5: 35-38
Gonzalez-Cota A, Amasha R, Yaksh TL. Spinal Adjuvants Chapter. In: Kopp SL, Chan V, Benzon H. Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine Online Spinal Pharmacology. Park Ridge, IL: American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine; 2010
Gonzalez-Cota A, Chiravuri S. Intelligent Spinal Cord Stimulation System in a Neural Bench Model. Presented at the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Meeting 2010; Phoenix, AZ
Gonzalez-Cota A, Kruger G, Reynolds P. Computational Modeling and Prototyping of a Pediatric Airway Management Instrument. Presented at the 2010 Society for Airway Meeting. American Society of Anesthesiologists. Chicago, IL
Gonzalez-Cota A, Yaksh TL. The role of alpha-2 noradrenergic receptors in regulating primary afferent release of substance P and formalin-induced nociception. American Society of Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine 2009 Annual Pain Medicine Meeting and Workshops; November 19-22, 2009; San Antonio, TX
Gonzalez-Cota A, Dubovoy A, Kollars J. Selective transthoracic bronchial intubation for repair of a large segment tracheobronchial Injury. 2009 American Society of Anesthesiologists Meeting; October 19, 2009; New Orleans, LA
Nazarian A, Marvizon GJ, Hua X, Gonzalez-Cota A, Yaksh TL. Spinal alpha-2 non-A adrenergics: A different mechanism of analgesia. Society for Neuroscience 2006; 10/17/2006; Atlanta, GA