Dr Paul Sueno

Paul A Sueno MD PLLC

A Physiatry and Pain Medicine Clinic

Comprehensive management of physical and pain related problems

Call to schedule (253) 302-5189

What is Physiatry?

Physiatry is a name with many outfits. You may have heard of this medical specialty as PM&R, PMR or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. All of these names refer to the same specialty.

PM&R is the field of medicine that brings you back to function. This field of medicine is grounded in the principles of physical and rehabilitation medicine. Whether back pain, stingers, knee sprain, stroke, or a spinal cord injury; physiatrists find a way to get you back to doing what you want to do.

What is Pain Medicine?

The field of pain medicine is a subspecialty combining physiatry, anesthesiology, neurology, and psychiatry principles. It is not just a means to get opioids (which is rare nowadays), but it is the most comprehensive method of developing customized pain management plans. Dr Sueno spent an extra year of training (fellowship at OHSU) to ensure the best care for you.


Movement and exercise are important for the body. This is stressed not just for general health, but for pain as well. The more flexible a body segment is, the more it can move. The stronger that segment is, the more it can perform. Physical therapy, home exercises, and mindfulness exercise programs like yoga and tai chi are great examples of how movement can help with pain.

Injections and Medications

When pain persists despite conservative care like physical therapy, exercise, and massage, then more aggressive treatments are needed. Dr Sueno has years of experience safely targeting painful structures in the spine and throughout the body. There are many kinds of neck and back injections, including epidural steroid injections. Large joints are often targeted as well, including shoulder, hip, and knee injections, whether with steroids, viscosupplementation (like Synvisc, Orthovisc and Euflexxa) and others. When used judiciously, steroid and other injections can often help treat pain.

Dr Sueno will review your medications, and together you and he will find the best regiment for your pain. Opioids (like morphine and Oxycontin) are medications of last resort with dangerous side effects, including addiction, abuse, and even death. The State of Washington put together a Frequently Asked Questions regarding pain killer regulations. After reviewing all that you have tried to relieve your pain, together you and he may decide to pursue chronic opioid therapy. In this instance, strict rules and regulations will be followed; and he may ask you to stop taking certain drugs or substances.

Marijuana is legal in the State of Washington. However, it remains illegal under Federal law. The Trump Administration has opened the door for the DEA to crack down on state legalized marijuana. For these reasons, Dr Sueno will neither “recommend” or “prescribe” marijuana; those who use marijuana may not get opioid prescriptions.

Psychotherapy and Other Tools

Oftentimes, people think pain can lead to depression or other mood disorders. But this is generally not the case. Risks exist, sure, but it is no guarantee that one comes after the other. There are well proven skills that can be learned from psychotherapy specialists, like psychologists and counselors. When these resources are not available, Dr Sueno will discuss how these skills can be incorporated in your life.

Whether surgeons, psychiatrists, internists, or chiropractors, sometimes having one doctor treat chronic pain is not enough. Dr Sueno knows when to call for help. When the time is right, he will coordinate your comprehensive care with the great talent we have in the South Puget Sound and even in Seattle.

For Other Providers

Dr Sueno is an independent provider with affiliations at Franciscan Health System and Multicare.

He is here to assist you with your physiatry and pain medicine needs. Dr Sueno also sees Worker Compensation patients and performs IME’s. Whether you require an EMG to evaluate for radiculopathy or compression neuropathy; injection to palliate spine pain while considering surgery; comprehensive chronic pain consultation; opioid recommendations; and other interventional pain and physiatry needs … we will do our best to accommodate your practice.

Get a consult request form here.

Services for his surgery colleagues:
  • Develop comprehensive peri-operative pain plan
  • EMG to differentiate radiculopathy from peripheral neuropathy
  • Epidural injections for spinal stenosis and radiculopathy
  • Large joint injections
  • Spinal cord stimulator (neuromodulation) trials
  • General physiatry consults and much more
Services for PCP’s and other specialists:
  • Debilitating chronic pain problems like: fibromyalgia, CRPS (or RSD), post-herpetic neuralgia, painful diabetic polyneuropathy, headache and migraine
  • Guidance on tapering down or weaning off opioids
  • Spinal and large joint injections
  • EMG testing for radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar neuropathy at the elbow
  • Spinal cord stimulator (neuromodulation) trials
  • General physiatry consults and much more

About Dr Paul A Sueno

Dr Sueno was born in Detroit and raised in Olympia and Tacoma. He has strong roots in the South Puget Sound. His father, Joseph Sueno MD, was also a physiatrist in Olympia and Tacoma. Before his early death from melanoma, the senior Dr Sueno instilled the ideals of hard work and determination in his son, Paul Sueno MD. After many years of training throughout the country, he brought home the knowledge and experience gained to help our community.

His academic pursuits are highlighted to the right. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with family and friends, tinkering with computers and coding, boating, skiing, running, and enjoying the arts.

He is Board Certified by ABPMR and has ABPMR Subspecialty Certification in Pain Medicine.

Get Directions to the Clinic

We are conveniently located between the two major hospital systems in Tacoma — MultiCare Allenmore Hospital and FHS St Joseph Medical Center. Our building is cream/beige colored. We are across the street from a convenience store and KBTC-TV/Bates Technical College on South 19th Street. Check in with us on the second floor (elevator access). If the front door is locked, we will gladly buzz you in.

Clinic address: 2411 S 19th St, Tacoma WA 98405
You can find us just off I-5 via Highway 16 and the Sprague Ave exit.
We are conveniently located near Pierce Transit stops on Route 2 and Route 57.