How We Can Help
Back & Neck Pain Treatment Information
We use a step-by-step, treatment ladder approach to reduce and remove your back and/or neck pain and solve the problems causing your discomfort. Medicines are often the starting point, followed by physical therapy and sometimes surgery, depending on your condition.
- Imaging tests. Your physician or neurosurgeon will use a variety of tests to look at your brain, spine and neck to diagnose the source of your back and/or neck pain. Common imaging tests include:
- X-ray. X-rays produce images of your bones and organs and are used to evaluate your spine and neck. Our specialized scoliosis X-ray machine delivers multiple views of the spine.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tests examine the tissues of your neck, spine and brain to spot abnormalities.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan. These scans combine X-ray and computer technology to provide images that are more detailed than X-rays.
- Diagnostic evaluations. Your physician may decide to conduct more advanced tests to better understand your condition. These can include an electromyogram (EMG) to study nerve and muscle function, a myelogram to study your spinal cord and an arthroscopy to investigate internal joint functions.
- Medicines. Your physician may prescribe a variety of medicines to reduce pain and inflammation of your spinal cord. These can be taken orally, intravenously or by one of several pain management techniques.
- Neurorehabilitation. We use a team approach at our Neurorehabilitation and Robotics lab, where we tailor physical and occupational therapy to restore you to pain-free movements and strengthen your muscles.
- Pain management. If regular medicines and physical therapy do not remove your pain, your physician may prescribe more advanced pain management techniques. These include:
- Nerve block. An injection in your spine that blocks the function of specific nerves that are causing your pain, much like an epidural used for women in labor.
- EMG-guided botulinum injections. The botulinum toxin blocks neurotransmitter messages between your nerves and muscles. This reduces and eliminates muscle spasms. We are studying the use of botulinum toxins to prevent back and neck pain.
- Spinal cord stimulator. A wire electrode is implanted along your spine. Electrical energy is sent into your spinal cord from a stimulation unit. This shortcircuits the pain signal that goes from your spinal cord to your brain. It is often used to treat sciatica.
- Pain pump. In cases of hard-to-control pain, your neurosurgeon may implant a pump that delivers pain medicine, such as morphine and anesthetics, to the space around your spinal cord. Pain pumps are used to treat conditions such as chronic pain from scar tissue, axial somatic pain and muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.
- Surgery. If your physician recommends surgery to treat your back or neck pain, our neurosurgeons are experts and innovators in the latest minimally invasive procedures. We perform image-guided surgery to generate the safest outcomes with the fewest complications. Our back and neck pain surgical procedures include:
- Intraoperative MRI. We are the first health system in Indiana to offer this procedure. The intraoperative MRI provides your neurosurgeon with images of your brain or spine during surgery.
- Percutaneous pedicle screw placement. We use computer-guided images and minimally invasive surgery to place screws in the spine to add strength and stability.
- Laminectomy. This surgical procedure is used to relieve pressure on your spinal cord caused by a variety of issues, including a herniated disc or tumor.
- Artificial discs. To preserve your range of motion, we are innovating the use of artificial disks to treat arm and neck pain. These discs cushion the space between the vertebrae in your spine and prevent fusion of the bones. This keeps you active longer and can prevent a second surgery. We are researching the effectiveness of these artificial discs.
- Mesh bone implants. We are also researching the use of mesh bone implants between spinal disk spaces to enhance fusion and make minimally invasive spine surgery safer.
Back & Neck Pain Locations & Physicians
Find treatments and physicians available in your area through our consultation form.
Back & Neck Pain Support Services
Learn more about back and/or neck pain treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Back & Neck Pain Support Services
Indiana University Health Spine Program
The Indiana University Health Spine Program offers you a personalized treatment plan that offers a combination of treatment options.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
This national association offers patient information on conditions and treatments for back and neck pain and spinal injuries.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
This federal website includes comprehensive information about the causes, treatments and research related to back pain.
Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine compiles this online encyclopedia of back and neck pain conditions.