Francis P Lagattuta, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Francis P Lagattuta, MD is the founder and director of medicine for LAGS Medical Centers and he holds board Board Certifications for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Addiction Medicine, Pain Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He has been treating patients for over 20 years and is also a certified IMR reviewer. He is currently regarded as a leading researcher in the field of painful neuropathies, specializing in small-fiber neuropathy.
Dr. Lagattuta inherited a passion for helping others from both of his devout Catholic parents, who believed that all good Catholics should always strive to do good and help those in need who are less fortunate. He inherited his passion for sports from his Sicilian-American father, a season ticket holder to Chicago Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks, who saw games as a way to share his love of sports, as well as bringing all of his five sons together as a close-knit family.
His passion for medicine was inherited from his mother, who was from Slovenia and worked in the medical field as an x-ray technician. Dr. Lagattuta became interested in medicine at a very young age and knew early on that he wanted to become a doctor. Little did he know that all 3 passions would combine to position him as a physiatrist and team doctor for the Chicago Bulls, his father’s favorite team.
Choosing to attend medical school at Loyola University – because 1) it was in his hometown of Chicago, and 2) its values aligned with his Catholic upbringing – Dr. Lagattuta was immediately drawn to the most sport-oriented specialty: physical rehabilitation. He was excited to learn that a big part of healing his patients in that specialty would involve getting them moving, active and exercising.
Ohio State University was the site of his residency, where he volunteered his free time to help those in need. This included helping injured athletes at the University, and assisting the famed Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes, after coach Hayes suffered a stroke. The type of rehabilitation Dr. Lagattuta learned was similar for both injured athletes and stroke victims. Focused on establishing functional improvement, he came up with safe ways to get them moving and active again.
His training with injections and other minimally invasive treatments would create enough pain relief that allowed his patients to begin a regular exercise program. The experts who trained Dr. Lagattuta taught him that if a patient who had been sedentary began to move and exercise regularly, the exercise would be the thing that leads to the most dramatic healing and recovery.
While Dr. Lagattuta had been taught and firmly believed exercise was the best medicine, there was extreme pressure on doctors at the time to prescribe opioids. Fears that doctors could lose their licenses if they did not prescribe opioids, and state medical boards pushing that opiate-based medications were in the best interest of the patient meant not prescribing them could be akin to medical malpractice or patient neglect. This all was due to the slick marketing of the pharma reps, who had convinced everyone that opioids were not addictive and that they offered the ultimate in pain relief.
This was very contrary to what Dr. Lagattuta started noticing in his practice. Most of his patients were not seeing significant relief from opioids, and many of them had various drug addiction-related issues. He also noted that many suffered from depression or other mental health issues, and that a large percentage were also very overweight. It seemed very likely to Dr. Lagattuta that these issues might all be interconnected and that there must be a better way to help patients suffering from chronic pain. He began to devote much of his time to reading the latest journal articles and attending the pain management conferences where top doctors and researchers come together to share ideas.
As suspected, he discovered all of these things are indeed very interconnected, and to properly treat pain, it is necessary to treat all of them. For example, pain causes depression, and depression makes a person’s pain feel worse, leading to further depression. In essence, if a person has chronic pain along with clinical depression, a significant factor may just be that depression. Treating the other issues, without treating the depression will not do much to treat all of the patient’s pain. What is necessary is to treat all of the causes of pain at the same time in order to break what Dr. Lagattuta calls “the Pain Cycle.” In short: Pain causes depression, depression increases sedentary lifestyle, which intensies inflammation and pain. The way to end this self-feeding cycle of pain is to treat both issues simultaneously. This led to his creation of the MAP protocol, his 3-tiered approach to treating a patient’s pain from Metabolic, Anatomical and Psychological perspectives.
With so many of Dr. Lagattuta’s patients reporting amazing results following his program, he decided to focus his efforts on research and science as a way of training other doctors in his methods and the MAP protocol. While all of the individual components of his program are medically accepted practices, no one has ever put together all of the pieces the way Dr. Lagattuta has. As a result, he is actively documenting the extent to which these treatments can actually repair/regenerate damaged nerve fibers. In addition, he hopes to write about the degree to which growing back nerve bers will make the patients’ pain decrease and improve their quality of life. In keeping with his social justice values, Dr. Lagattuta plans to share these findings to the rest of the world, hopefully to help solve the opioid crisis, and end suffering for millions of people struggling with pain. To this end, he has hired a team of PhD researchers, and formed a charitable foundation, optimistic that his positive results can be multiplied hundreds or thousands of times for other doctors.