Four out of five Americans will have an attack of back pain during their lifetime. Many people are doomed to endless visits to the back doctor. That's because once you have your first back pain attack, you are four times more likely to have a recurrence. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we are now in a position to help those in Minnesota with back or neck problems.
Over the years, Summit Orthopedics has continually broken new ground in orthopedics and invested in ways that improve patient care in sports medicine and joint replacement. In 2009, we launched a new specialized approach for back and neck pain called Summit Spinecare.
Summit Orthopedics, the parent organization of Summit Spinecare, has offices across the Minneapolis and Saint Paul, including a downtown office near Saint Paul Cathedral.
Summit Spine Care, located in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Minnesota area, includes three board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons who are fellowship-trained in spine, a non-operative orthopedic surgeon who focuses on non-surgical spine care, a spinal injectionist and a team of spine-specialized physical therapists.
This team of spine specialists are located within a new 6,500 sf spine center space in our Summit Orthopedics Woodbury Minnesota location.
Summit Spinecare includes the following spine specialists of Summit Orthopedics:
The goal of Summit Spinecare in Minnesota is to improve the spine treatment we provide to patients with back and neck pain problems, spinal deformity and scoliosis. We are committed to this goal, as evidenced by the construction of a dedicated 6,500 sf spine center facility within our new Woodbury location to house all the consolidated treatment options so back pain patients no longer have to drive around town to fragmented, multiple destinations for diagnosis and treatment. This spine center, serving the Minneapolis / St. Paul Minnesota area, includes spine surgeons, non-surgical spine physicians, spine injectionists, a dedicated spine exercise gym, X-ray and an injection suite — all under one roof.
Summit Spine Care has begun incorporating non-surgical treatment options, from home exercise programs, to improving our internal spine specialized therapy area with spine-trained therapists who encourage movement and return to activity. We have started instituting and prescribing home exercise programs — something that is desired by health plans and employers. Additionally, we have started tracking clinical outcomes, from use of pills, patient satisfaction, and return to function so we can publish a clinical outcome report card for employers and health insurance plans later in 2010.
As part of this effort to improve the spine care product, we are committed to a well-informed patient. We have developed this online encyclopedia on spine that includes symptom charts, medical illustrations, narrated videos on spine treatment in English and Spanish, and exercises that relieve back and neck pain.
To our knowledge, this spine encyclopedia is the most comprehensive educational resource for back and neck pain sufferers in the State of Minnesota.
As a community service, we also distribute a free 36-page Home Remedy Book on back and neck pain to those in the Minneapolis St. Paul Minnesota area. This helpful patient guide has been a godsend to more than a hundred thousand patients across the U.S. Click here if you’d like to request a copy.
A spine center approach to back & neck pain in Minnesota
The problem with back and neck pain is that care is often fragmented, forcing the patient to travel to multiple offices in the quest for relief of back pain.
Patients often have to drive from a spine physician’s office for X-rays, a second location for an MRI, a third location for pain-relieving injections, and then a fourth location for spine specialized physical therapy. By putting all these services under one roof, the patient can benefit from improved coordination of care with the entire team of specialists in spine talking to each other about your case all in one location. The end result is that the patient is often able to return to activity with a non-surgical approach.
The spine surgeons at Summit Spinecare already see a variety of complex cases from across Minnesota. These spine specialists emphasize a non-surgical approach to back pain, and exhaust non-surgical options first before recommending surgery. Sometimes, however, there can be emergency symptoms — like weakness or numbness in an arm or leg — that need to be addressed quickly with spine surgery to avoid permanent paralysis of nerves.
About half of patients are referred to Summit Spine Care by other doctors in the Minnesota region. We recognize that these physicians place their trust in the spine specialized physicians in Minnesota.
Summit Spine Care also cares for those who injure themselves at the workplace, with many of these injuries relating to back or neck injury. We recognize that the injured worker AND THE EMPLOYER both want a fast recovery and a quick return to work. We are sensitive to the needs and feedback related to work comp patients.
Pain relief through a focus on function
The philosophy of Summit Spinecare is to emphasize a return to activity with a treatment approach based on movement. Because movement can be the key to pain relief.
While there can be some spine problems that require spine surgery to return to activity, the bulk of back and neck pain symptoms can respond to nonsurgical treatment options.
For example, about 80% of back and neck problems arise from strain of the ligaments and soft tissue in the back. While these strains can be painful, spine surgery is not appropriate for these types of problems. For the patient, it is important to understand that pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. Either the back is too weak, too inflexible, something lifted was too heavy or the wrong body mechanics were used.
Too many times, however, well-intentioned doctors can focus exclusively on pain symptoms and often recommend a course of treatment that is the exact opposite of what the individual needs to recover from the back problem.
Years ago, for example, doctors treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the discomfort. It was found through research, however, that this type of treatment was actually damaging to the back, because it caused muscles in the back to atrophy and get weaker, in turn causing more strain and pain. Patients became more dependent on drugs and grew more inactive and disabled.
An internal pain specialist is often able to relieve some back and neck pain symptoms with special injections that enable a patient to bridge to therapy. Spine specialized therapists in turn use customized hands-on treatments to relieve pain symptoms, along with special exercises to help make the back stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury. If non-surgical treatments are not successful, the spine specialized surgeons at Summit Spinecare in Minnesota are trained and proficient in the latest techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery.
Summit Spinecare is able to care for any type of back or neck problem, from the simple back or neck strain all the way to the most complex spine surgery. Because Summit Spinecare has MRI, X-ray and injection suite capabilities under one roof in the Woodbury location, the back or neck pain patient no longer has to drive around town for care. Having all the necessary diagnostic testing and non-operative treatment under one roof eliminates multiple referrals, delayed care and confusion.
In some cases, a patient may have emergency symptoms that need to be seen within 24 hours by a spine specialist. This can include numbness, weakness or pain that extends down a leg or arm past the knee or elbow, or when you have loss of control of bowel or bladder. Secondly, any time a person has suffered a traumatic injury like an abrupt fall or car accident that causes back or neck pain, this is an emergency signal.
This educational web site covers many of these symptoms related to back or neck pain problems.
Why a Center of Excellence approach is needed for spine
Research has shown that complex health problems such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes and back pain can be treated best by centers of excellence that direct all of their time and resources at solving these expensive health care issues.
For example, instead of driving all over town from a general physician’s office to another physician for diagnostics and yet another location for physical therapy, a spine center of excellence consolidates all the patient’s needs under one roof.
The problem with back and neck pain, is that there are many physicians who may have a biased approach toward one type of treatment over another. Surgeons may be biased toward resorting to spine surgery too quickly. Those physicians who do injections, can be biased toward injection therapy. Those physicians who are biased toward non-surgical treatment options can also create a problem by “hanging onto the patient” far too long when the patient has problem that requires surgical care. There can also be those who emphasize drugs to mask symptoms, or passive feel-good modalities like ice, heat or massage that provide no lasting benefit to the patient. All of these biases represent the problem with back and neck care.
The solution to back and neck care is a multi-disciplinary team approach that combines the expertise of these core disciplines of spine surgeon, physical medicine physician and spine therapist. The patient then gets an unbiased approach that represents the best of all options.
By combining multiple disciplines, the team concept creates a level of expertise previously unavailable. This focus helps Summit Spinecare (main location in Woodbury, Minnesota) spine specialists find and implement the best possible treatment solution for each case of back or neck pain, from spine specialized physical therapy to injection therapy to spine surgery.
What to expect on your visit to Summit Spinecare
Step 1: Learning what’s causing your pain
Summit Spinecare wants you to be well-informed about the causes of your back and neck pain. At Summit Spinecare you may meet with a spine surgeon or a “physical medicine and rehabilitation” (PMR) physician who has special expertise with soft tissue injury. The specialty of “PMR” is recognized nationally as the best specialist to deal with non-surgical treatment of back and neck pain. As a first step, your spine physician will review your medical history. You will be asked questions about your symptoms that will help determine the causes of your back or neck pain. The physician will help you understand what may be causing your symptoms so you can play an active role in your recovery.
Step 2: The physician visit, medical exam, diagnostic tests
A comprehensive physical exam will also be performed to assess if you have weakness or numbness in your legs or arms, which can reveal the cause of your problem, and how best to treat it. You may need to undergo a diagnostic test, either an X-ray or an MRI, both of which are completely painless. You may also need an “EMG”, a test of the nerves that can reveal important information about the causes of pain, weakness or numbness.
Step 3: Spine-specialized therapy
Unlike a general physical therapist who treats a variety of problems, the physical therapists at Summit Spinecare have advanced training in spine problems. For example, other clinics focus on passive treatments such as heat, ice, massage, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Passive modalities may feel good, but they cure nothing long term. The best way to relieve your back or neck pain permanently is to make the back stronger, more flexible and more resistant to injury. Our therapist will customize a set of exercises that can help make that happen. You can even do these exercises at home. Our number one goal is to help you return to your everyday activities free from back or neck pain.
If necessary, injection therapy
In some cases a herniated or bulging disc can cause pressure on nearby nerve roots. This can cause symptoms like radiating pain or weakness into an arm or leg. Summit Spinecare has an internal injection suite which enables a fellowship-trained physician to inject pain relieving medication into the back to relieve these symptoms. The purpose of the injection is to act as a bridge into therapy, and enable the tissues to recover without surgery.
If Surgery is Necessary
Sometimes, there can be injury to discs or structures in the spine that can only be corrected with surgery. So if your problem has not responded to spinal injections or therapy, it’s time to learn your surgical treatment options. Regardless of the type of spine problem you have, we can help. Summit Spinecare handles the most complex spine surgery cases in the Minnesota region including herniated discs, spinal fractures and spinal tumors. Dr. Lynn, Dr Wills and Dr. Hartleben have training in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques that reduce the size of the incision which makes recovery faster and less painful. In some cases, some patients can have their surgery in the morning and be home the same day to recover in the comfort of their own house.
About Summit Spinecare | Spine Center approach to back and neck pain | Patient Success Stories | Spine Surgeons: Dr. Paul Hartleben | Dr. Bryan Lynn | Dr. Nicholas Wills | Nonsurgical Spine Physicians: Dr. John Dowdle | Dr. Thomas Cesarz | Dr. Kristen Zeller | Anatomy Library | Back and Neck Pain Prevention | Spine Pain Relief | Symptoms Chart | Educational Resources | How to Lift | Spine Conditions: | Back Pain | Neck Pain | Degenerative Disc | Herniated Disc | Spondylolysis | Spinal Stenosis | Scoliosis | Bone Spur | Spine Tumors | Back and Neck Pain Treatment | Spine Surgery | Contact Summit Spine Care | Woodbury Minnesota Location | Forest Lake Minnesota Location | Hastings Minnesota Location | St Paul Minnesota Location (near Saint Paul Cathedral) | Eagan Minnesota Location
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