The Doctor is IN!

Dr. Zwade Marshall is here to serve the community

Article by Pam Reid

Photography by Debbie McFarland

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

Dr. Zwade Marshall knows what it's like to be a patient and knows what it's like to feel relief from being in competent hands. Having dealt with severe childhood asthma and recalling the look of fear on his mother's face whenever he had an attack, Dr. Marshall feels grateful for the comforting and reassuring care he received from his grandmother who was a nurse. Memories of the bright lights and sterile hallways in hospitals and emergency rooms remind Dr. Marshall of how comforting it was to see the doctor who would give him the breathing treatment he so desperately needed. At a young age, Zwade knew he wanted to reassure and comfort people like his grandmother and doctors did for him time and time again. He was motivated to become a doctor.

Involved. After graduating from Emory, Zwade wanted to do something impactful within the community. He didn't want to go lockstep from college to medical school to residency, so he applied to be a high school mathematics teacher at an inner-city school in Decatur. During this experience, he was able to see first-hand the challenges and barriers economically disadvantaged people have to contend with on a daily basis. "It was a time that set me up to understand the human condition and understand people, as well as some of the challenges people have to encounter." It wasn't long before the students began to trust Mr. Marshall and he found ways to be helpful and add value. In addition to teaching, Mr. Marshall gave students SAT prep after school, wrote college recommendation letters, coached both the girl's soccer team and the boy's swim team, and yet today he is emphatic when he says "those students gave me so much."

Full circle: in August of this year, Dr. Marshall received a job application at his practice from a successful nurse practitioner. During the interview, the candidate identified herself as one of his former high school math students. "The sense of fulfillment that I remember getting as a teacher and seeing the student apply for that job - it's as high as when you have a patient come back and tell you the procedure you did for them has changed their lives and improved their level of function."

Intellectual. Dr. Zwade Marshall earned his joint medical and business degree from Emory University and completed his residency at Harvard University's Brigham & Women's Hospital. He is Board Certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. Dr. Marshall's list of accomplishments and distinctions is both impressive and extensive for a doctor in practice for ten years. He specializes in pain management for back pain, facial pain syndromes, headaches, chronic abdominal pain, pelvic pain, cancer pain and peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Marshall provides a comprehensive approach to the many chronic pain conditions that significantly affect the body. His practice - Regenerative Spine & Pain Specialists - is located at 874 W. Lanier Avenue in Fayetteville, and he has plans to open two additional locations in McDonough and Newnan within the next fifteen months.

Invaluable. Dr. Marshall's philanthropic interests are varied and one most notable is the H.E.R.O Mission (Health and Education Relief Organization) - an annual week-long medical mission where he takes some of his co-workers and colleagues to Guyana - where the good doctor is from - to provide cleft palate and clubfoot treatment for children. He invites local physicians and medical students to be part of the mission so they can be trained on how to do anesthesia and how the operative surgeries are done. Within the week they will see 70 - 85 cases. Parents travel for days to be there when Dr. Marshall and his team arrive. There's a sense that if they don't go on this mission, the quality of life for these individuals is severely impaired.

Innovative. In his medical specialty, Dr. Marshall treats patients who typically come to him after they've exhausted other options. They may have seen their primary care doctor, a surgeon, a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. They're coming after whatever was recommended previously did not work. "I get to be the doctor that gets to the solution that's going to be helpful." Dr. Marshall can see at times that patients don't have much faith in what the outcome is going to be - there's a level of skepticism or perhaps some jadedness due to prior medical encounters. Incredibly hands-on, Dr. Marshall goes over imaging reports and MRI's directly with patients and speaks to them in layman's terms. "When patients are relieved from pain and can function the way they used to, it is extraordinarily rewarding." Restorative function in their life is what keeps Dr. Marshall doing what he does.

Inspirational. Dr. Marshall recognizes that within pain management people deal with quite a bit of social isolation, depression or helplessness when dealing with chronic pain, as well as the fear that someone is not going to understand or believe them because they are worried about the stigma of pain medications. Patients worry about the stigma of not being able to function the way they used to - whether sexually or physically - or having to compensate for an illness on their job, and keeping their employer from knowing they really can't lift something for fear of losing their job. "There's so much that's packed into when someone in pain comes to see me, and having lived as a patient in my life, it helps me speak to them in a way they identify with and can hear the concern and the desire I have to help them." People drive miles - some over an hour and pass twenty pain doctors - to be seen by Dr. Zwade Marshall.

Informative. Proper spine hygiene is something Dr. Marshall stresses. There are lifestyle choices considered very helpful to prevent spine degeneration over time. Good diet and exercise are at the top of the list. Most people don't realize that every five pounds on your belly equate to fifteen pounds on your back. So if you have ten pounds of excess weight on your belly, it equates to thirty pounds on your back. That's like carrying around a backpack full of rocks. That in effect will wear on your spine over time. Having flexible glutes and hamstring muscles and a strong core supports your spine. Non-impact exercises like swimming, walking and Pilates especially are proven to reduce the incidents of lower back pain in patients as they age. "If you begin to feel pain, that's a symptom of an underlying issue and you shouldn't ignore it."

Intentional. Dr. Marshall wants people to know that medicine has evolved and changed a great deal over the course of the past decade, and doctors understand they are truly in a service industry with patients more activated and engaged than they've ever been. "I am a collaborative physician that respects the patient's opinions of what their healthcare should look like." If a patient is into holistic health or prefers to stay away from medications, for example, Dr. Marshall can speak to the evidence around alternative therapies because he's been trained classically and has studied those methods as well. He can guide the patient on how to navigate their goals with where the best evidence is. To learn more about Dr. Zwade Marshall and his practice visit  

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