IU Health Spine Program
When you experience a back or neck injury resulting in pain and loss of ability to move normally, it can make everything more difficult–from going to work to spending time with your family. Back pain can originate from a variety of causes, including sprains and muscle injury, dislocations, stress from overuse and degenerative changes of the spine. Fortunately, you can get your life back on track–with the expert physicians of Indiana University Health, you can regain the function you have lost as the result of a back or neck condition, allowing you retun to a regular life.
At IU Health, our team of spine experts will offer you on a personalized treatment plan that offers a combination of physical therapy, interventional therapies and when indicated, minimally invasive surgery to reduce pain and restore function. Your treatment plan is managed by a dedicated program navigator, who simplifies scheduling and coordinates communication between your providers. When you suffer from back pain, you want relief right away. We start with a consultation with an expert in function, who specializes in the relationship between bones, nerves, and muscles. That unique training makes them experts in diagnosing and creating comprehensive treatment plans that reduce pain, restore function and prevent future reoccurences. We approach your back pain with deliberate, attentive care. Using an evidence-based approach, the Indiana University Health Spine Program finds the right treatment option for each patient, starting with the least invasive care. Our collaborative approach means we have the resources, tools and specialists to treat your spine conditions, such as:
- Sprain or strain of the back
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
With simple appointment scheduling through our dedicated program coordinators, we go to great lengths to get you the care you need quickly.
How We Can Help
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Accolades Received by Select Programs
Designated a Blue Distinction Center by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana for spine surgery
Ranked #29 nationally by 2014-15 U.S.News & World Report's Best Hospitals
What to Expect
Spine Pain Treatment Information
We use a unique approach to restore function and reduce pain. Depending on your symptoms and physical needs, treatment may include physical therapy, interventional therapies, or in some cases surgery.
Evaluation and Diagnostic Imaging
The IU Health Spine Program physicians will evaluate your function and talk with you to better understand the effects of your back and neck pain. Your assessment may also include imaging tests to help the physician identify anatomic changes that may be contributing to your condition. Common imaging tests include:
- X-ray. X-rays produce images of your bones that are used to evaluate your spine and neck. This helps your physician to see alignment and height of your spine.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test allows a physician to see the relationship between the nerves, spinal cord, bones and discs. An MRI is often used to diagnosis specific conditions within the spinal column.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan. These scans combine X-ray and computer technology to provide images that are more detailed than X-rays. A CT image helps to provide greater detail between bone and soft tissue.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Trained physical therapists help you build muscle strength and flexibility for the muscles in your stomach and back. They can also teach you how to modify movements to reduce the strain placed on your spine. Physical therapy is an important component to reduce back pain and prevent re-occurrence.
Your physician may prescribe therapies to help manage short-term pain. These therapies are:
- Injections. There are several types of injections a physician might use to help provide temporary pain relief. Imaging is used to ensure the injection is in the right place in the spine to provide relief. Often injections are used along with physical therapy to ensure muscle flexibility, strength and function.
- Spinal cord stimulator. A wire electrode is implanted along your spine. Electrical energy is sent into your spinal cord from a stimulation unit. This short circuits the pain signal that goes from your spinal cord to your brain. It is often used to treat sciatica.
If your physician recommends surgery to treat your spine pain, our surgeons are experts and innovators in spine surgery. Whenever possible, we utilize minimally invasive surgical procedures. We perform image-guided surgery to generate the safest outcomes.
Discectomy is used to treat back pain caused by bulging and herniated discs. In discectomy, surgeons remove some of the disc material that is pressing on nerve roots or the spinal cord. Discectomy can sometimes be performed minimally invasively, meaning the surgeon works through very small incisions in the skin. For other patients, the physician may also perform a fusion at the same time as a discectomy.
This surgical procedure is used to relieve pressure on your spinal cord caused by a variety of issues, including a herniated disc or tumor. This procedure is a minimally invasive approach, meaning the surgeon works through very small incisions and pushes the muscle to the side to access the spine. A small piece of bone that is pushing against the nerves and spinal cord is removed, relieving pinched nerves.
Artificial Cervical Disc
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. For some patients an artificial cervical disc may help reduce pain and increase range of motion. Nerves that exit from the spinal cord through the neck control several body and sensory activities. When one of those nerves becomes pinched, pain can be excruciating, often moving down an arm. The artificial cervical disc can help reduce pain while maintain movement in the neck.
Sometimes, surgery may require a fusion. This can be because segments of the spine are unstable or not properly aligned, which can cause pain by pressing on the nerves that run through the back and spinal cord. Sometimes this intense pain can shoot down the legs or arms. During a fusion, the surgeon will typically place screws and rods in the spine to create stability while the bone grows to fuse the segments.
Restorative Care and Monitoring
There is a high rate of recurrence with back pain, so it’s important to include prevention of future pain in your care pathway. IU Health offers restorative care and monitoring services to help you build strength and limit the risks of future pain episodes.
Spine Consultation Form
Contact us to take the first steps to get your life back on track. A program coordinator will contact you to better understand your needs and get you moving on your path to wellness.
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