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Published on October 08, 2014

woman with neck and back pain

Taking the Fear Out of Treating Back and Neck Pain

Almost every adult has struggled with back or neck pain at some point in his or her life. It’s extremely common among us, no matter the age. It might have started with a car accident, a work or sports injury, or one of those sharp aches in your back you suddenly just wake up with out of the blue one day. Back and neck pain can be serious, and sometimes brings our daily activities to a screeching halt. Our spine is an extremely important structure in our body, and it definitely lets us know when something is wrong with it. If we don’t take care of our spine, it could mean years of pain and suffering down the road, which can negatively affect our personal lives, jobs and overall happiness.

Many times, people worry that if they go to a spine specialist, they’ll find themselves facing surgery. In reality, only about one in 10 people with severe back or neck pain will actually get to the point of needing surgery. The other nine people get better with less invasive means, such as:

  • Time; abstaining from certain activities
  • Certain medications
  • Injections that can reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasms
  • Physical therapy to get your back safely into shape again

Back specialists embrace this reality that people are wary about jumping right into surgery. Therefore, these professionals focus spine care on conservative, cost-effective means first, saving surgery only for when it’s truly necessary.

Many specialties work together to help patients get on the right path to relief. Depending on the patient’s unique needs, he or she may receive expert care from one of these specialties or several:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry)
  • Physical therapy
  • Interventional pain services
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Neurosurgery

If you are experiencing a brand new onset of neck or back pain, see a spine specialist or ask your primary care provider to refer you to a spine specialist. It’s important to take action now so your problems do not get worse. Once you visit with a spine specialist and are examined, your care plan is tailored to target the root of the problem, because not everyone benefits from the same treatment, every time.

Contacting the spine navigator at the Avera Brain and Spine Institute Spine Center is your first step to getting help for your back or neck pain. My job as a spine navigator involves listening to your concerns, helping you find the right specialist for your spine care needs and coordinating your care throughout the entire treatment process.

You deserve to get back to your normal life as soon as possible, so you can focus on the things that matter most to you.

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