Methodist Hospitals: How to choose a back specialist - March 27, 2014

Chronic back pain is among the most common medical problems in America.

Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. It impacts people in different ways. Different back conditions require different methods of treatment. So how can you best address back pain?


Prevention is a strong defense against back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising on a regular basis and building muscle strength in your core muscles will help you avoid back pain.

Many people don’t realize that strong stomach muscles provide support for back muscles. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may help reduce your back pain. It will also lessen the strain on the joints that support your weight, including your knees.


Sprains and muscle spasms often cause back and neck pain. In more serious cases, degeneration, deformity, injury and disease may be creating physical pain.

When your body is in pain, it means something is wrong. When your back issue doesn’t lessen within a few days, or if the pain is sharp, worsening or accompanied by numbness, you need to address it immediately. If you are experiencing any of the following seek immediate medical attention:

• Sharp pain

• Numbness

• Loss of bodily functions such as bladder or bowel control

• Shooting pain

• Pain that steadily gets worse

• Night Pain

• Weight loss

• Fever

The Methodist Hospitals Spine Care Center offers both surgical and non-surgical treatments for:

• Back pain

• Deformity/scoliosis

• Degenerative conditions

• Disc problems

• Inflammatory conditions

• Osteoporosis

• Spine Infection

• Spine trauma/fractures

• Tumors

A cornerstone of the Spine Care Center is Priority Consult, a pioneering patient management system designed to improve the patient experience.

The Priority Consult process utilizes digital technology to organize and review the patient’s medical history, clinical status and any completed tests and imaging in the early stage of evaluation. This allows the spine care team to determine the most appropriate course of treatment and direct patients to the most appropriate care, from non-surgical to surgical treatments – all with out the patient coming into the Center.

Many patients require no surgical intervention. Priority Consult enables patients to avoid the time and expense of an unnecessary appointment with a surgeon, as they embark on a path to recovery much more rapidly.


A good practice is one that concentrates on making a good diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation. A provider should perform a thorough exam and identify any abnormal findings and not totally depend on the X rays, CT and MRI.

It is important to treat the patient pain following an exam and accurate diagnosis. Treating pain without these crucial elements could lead to unpleasant consequence.

Methodist Hospitals has long been known for its expertise in the comprehensive treatment of spinal disorders. The Spine Care Center brings this multidisciplinary expertise together through a collaboration of physicians and other clinicians specializing in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and physical therapy. The goal of the Center is to provide the highest quality care to give patients the mobility and freedom from pain that lets them return to healthier and active lives.

Patients are guided by Care Coordinators who offer education and assist with coordinating treatment, pain management or therapy. In addition, care coordinators provide a vital communication link back to the referring physician, who is regularly updated regarding the status of patients referred to the Spine Care Center.

Back pain can be debilitating. Contact the Methodist Hospitals Spine Care Center at 888-549-5648 when you experience pain that can’t be attributed to simple stress or strain. The earlier you seek treatment, the faster you can start on the road to recovery.