Finally home from a long day of work, all you want to do is relax. But you can’t get comfortable. At a time when you expect your back and neck muscles to loosen and destress, they continue to be knotted and radiate pain. 

Situations like this are fairly common. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 60-80% of all adults in the United States will experience back pain and 20-70% will experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetime. Back and neck pain ranks in the top five disabling disorders in the United States.

Although a common issue, it should not be taken lightly. The NCHS study says that location-based pain such as the neck and back can have short- and long-term effects, impair the muscle and lower quality of life physically and mentally for those struggling with such pain. But noticing the nuances between a serious issue versus a minor issue can be difficult. That is why the dedicated professionals at Baylor Scott & White Health Back and Neck Center are here to help.

Identifying and Preventing Symptoms

“Patients will commonly seek care for neck or back pain in isolation or neck/back pain with radiation to the extremities,” said Jarren Section, MD, an orthopedic physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Centennial. Symptoms like these, back and neck pain in one spot or radiating pain, can occur in various ways, according to Dr. Section. “These symptoms can have an insidious or slow onset or an acute/rapid onset and may or may not be associated with a traumatic injury,” said Dr. Section.

Although common, some neck and back pain can be preventable. Radhika Ravula, MD, an orthopedic physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano suggests that posture plays a role in preventing or causing back and neck pain.

“Pay attention to your posture and exercise regularly,” said Dr. Ravula. “Good posture involves proper alignment of the bones and joints so as to place the least strain on the muscles and ligaments.” If the pain does not subside or worsens, even with minor lifestyle changes such as exercise and posture, then you may want to seek medical attention, says Dr. Ravula.

Seeking Medical Attention

While back and neck pain can sometimes be prevented, it is not always avoidable. Dr. Section recommends seeking medical attention in certain situations. 

“Consider seeking medical attention for your back/neck pain when the pain is more bothersome at night, is associated with recent trauma or weight loss, radiates to the extremities, and/or doesn’t improve with nonoperative management such as physical therapy or stretching,” said Dr. Section. Dr. Ravula also suggests seeking a second opinion when back and neck pain worsens. 

Seeking Treatment

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) reported people with back (or neck) pain are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, as well as impaired quality of life, compared to those who do not experience back or neck pain. So, for advanced care that prioritizes accessibility, look no further than Baylor Scott & White Health Back and Neck Center. 

“One of the unique things about this program is that there is a nurse navigator who monitors the patient’s path and is available to help ‘navigate’ the patient through the process,” said Elizabeth Clark, DNP, Nurse Practitioner for the program. “With this center, we hope to create a frictionless experience for the patient as they transition through their health care journey,” said Dr. Clark.

“The center also has a multidisciplinary conference where individual patient cases are presented and discussed around a team of experts in their field to create an appropriate treatment plan and outcome for the patient,” said Dr. Clark. 

According to Brent Morgan, MD, a neurologist on the medical staff and medical director of neurology at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- McKinney, the conference will include physical therapists, pain management specialists, and other providers. According to Dr. Morgan, this multidisciplinary approach makes the center stand out against other providers because of its ease of access for patients. 

At Baylor Scott & White Health Neck and Back Center, you will not only be treated by a qualified lineup of professionals across the disciplines but you will also be guided through your journey to recovery.

“We plan to make it easy access for the patients and make referrals to each individual specialty seamless,” said Dr. Morgan. “Because this is a specific program and use of common medical records, we will be able to electronically make referrals to different clinics. We will also have patient navigators that will help patients obtain expedited appointments into the various offices.”

Choosing Baylor Scott & White Health Neck and Back Center for your healthcare needs will surely not be a pain in the neck.

Call or email to request an appointment: 469.814.BACK (2225) BSWHbackandneckcenter@BSWHealth.org