The Back Center at Vincera brings together top back, neck, spine and core specialists who are dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of back, neck and spine pain. Our experts include neurosurgeons, orthopedic and general surgeons, physician trained acupuncturists, physiatrists, pain management physicians, physical therapists, yoga and nutritional specialists and massage therapists.
We have specialized programs for back, neck and spine pain. It is important to see a trained health care professional if you are experiencing back, neck or spine pain to help determine the exact cause and to alleviate your pain as quickly as possible.
Your treatment plan tailored to your specific clinical needs. This ensures that you receive the individualized care that is essential to your recovery and return to pain-free athletic activities, optimum performance and health.
The spine or vertebral column supports your trunk and surrounds and protects your spinal cord. The spine provides structural support for the trunk and surrounds and protects the spinal cord. The muscles of your back and your ribs also are attached to your spine. When you engage in such activities as walking, running or jumping, your vertebral discs serve as shock absorbers—and also allow your spine to flex and extend.
Comprised of 34 (or 33) bones, the spine is divided into the following sections from the base of your skull to your pelvis:
- cervical spine (the seven bones that form your neck)
- thoracic spine (twelve bones)
- lumbar spine (five bones)
- sacral spine (five bones)
- coccyx (five bones)
Back, Neck & Spine Conditions
Injuries to the back, neck or spine can occur as a result of a variety of situations, including motor vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall accidents and work-related accidents or awkwardly lifting a heavy object. Other injuries, however, result from more subtle, gradual, long-term situations like poor posture, obesity or aging effects.
Back, neck and spine pain symptoms vary greatly depending on the type of injury or condition. The resulting pain can subside in a relatively short period of time or might become chronic.
Types of Injuries
A sprain is excessive stretching or tearing of a ligament that attaches muscle to bone. Symptoms can include pain and stiffness, both of which may intensify during physical activity.
A strain is excessive stretching or tearing of muscle tissue. Symptoms may include pain or soreness, which may get worse with mobility.
Long-time conditions such as obesity and diabetes, as well as smoking, can cause intervertebral disc changes. Accidents or injuries can also herniate discs.
Sometimes called a “broken back,” a vertebral fracture is actually a break in one or more parts of one or more of the 33 vertebrae (bones) that make up the cervical (neck), thoracic and lumbar spine—as well as the sacrum (the base of the spine, which joins with the pelvis and the tailbone).
Accidents or injuries can cause vertebral fractures. Osteoporosis can also enhance the risk of stress fractures, especially for older women. The most severe fractures are those that also involve injury, pinching or irritation of the spinal cord or spinal nerves. Treatment of spinal fractures can range from conservative measures such as rest and/or immobilization to specialized spine surgeries.
A number of diseases and congenital and acquired back and neck conditions can result in pain, mobility issues and other problems. These include:
Scoliosis: A curvature of the spine that originates in childhood, but may not cause pain or other problems until middle age.
Arthritis: Inflammation and deterioration of joint tissues, which can cause pain and mobility problems.
Infections: Bacterial, fungal or viral infections of the spine’s bones or connective tissues.
Tumors: Abnormal growths, either benign or malignant (cancerous), in the bones of the back or neck.
The Back Center experts at the Vincera Institute will personally guide you through every step of this process. A visit will likely include:
- MRI, x-rays or other imaging
- functional assessment
- history and physical
- diagnostic or therapeutic spinal injections
- other diagnostic procedures
- meeting with physicians
- consultations with experts in such areas as physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga therapy, nutrition, behavioral counsel, anesthesiology/pain management, massage therapy, radiology, neurosurgery and chiropractic.
What to Bring to Your Appointment
When you come for your appointment, bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, any imaging studies you may have, any charts from other physicians or therapists, and all of your questions. Our team will meet with you and determine the best course of treatment for you.
Whenever possible, at The Back Center at Vincera we first attempt to manage our patients’ injuries and conditions with conservative, nonsurgical options—such as prescribing pain medications, rest, reduced activity and/or physical therapy.
Treating a back sprain may simply involve exercise that targets the affected area combined with physical therapy.
Rest and special exercises may be sufficient to spur recovery. During the recovery period, medication, such as anti-inflammatories, can help control pain.
Treatment choices depend on such factors as the severity and duration of the injury and the level of discomfort it causes. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections.
Treatment of spinal fractures can range from conservative measures such as rest and/or immobilization to specialized spine surgeries.
Treatment of scoliosis is most successful when the condition is diagnosed in early childhood. It can involve using special braces or, in some cases, surgery.
Generally, we consider surgery for our patients only after such symptoms as continued pain or mobility difficulties persist following more conservative treatments. Surgical procedures performed at The Back Center at Vincera include cervical artificial disc replacement; anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; lumbar discectomy; lumbar laminectomy, lumbar artificial disc replacement; posterior lumbar interbody fusion; anterior lumbar interbody fusion; minimally invasive lumbar spine fusion; kyphoplasty.
While surgery is a common treatment for neck, back or spine disorders, our approach to surgery is not at all common. We uniquely tailor each patient’s care based on their diagnosis, condition and personal need—listening to the patient and offering the most conservative treatment options. When surgical intervention is necessary, our patients have access to the latest, minimally invasive surgical advances.
Rehabilitation, Pre-habilitation and Prevention Programs
At The Back Center at Vincera, our clinicians ensure that you are provided with a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan to enable a speedy recovery. Examples of treatment plans that may be ordered are:
Pre-habilitation Programs: Being healthy before surgery enables you to recover more quickly after surgery. Depending on your history and diagnosis, your team may recommend “pre-hab,” which may consist of physical therapy, exercise physiology, yoga, nutrition, acupuncture, behavioral medicine or chiropractic visits.
Day of Surgery Physical Therapy: Your medical team is focused on the most appropriate, aggressive plan to quicken your recovery. When you are discharged from the ambulatory surgery facility, you may begin physical therapy immediately, which may consist of cold laser therapy, therapeutic activities, education and ice compression.
Physical Therapy and other Post-operative Plans: Your physical therapy and other treatment plans will begin as soon as your physician clears you. Your comprehensive plan may include physical therapy, massage therapy, yoga therapy, chiropractic/manual therapies, nutrition, exercise physiology and behavioral medicine.
Prevention Program: We work with patients closely on lifestyle and other prevention programs to educate you so you can lead a healthy life. Over your lifetime, prevention and behaviors that promote wellness can have a decisive impact on the health of your neck and back. After successful nonsurgical treatment or surgery for spinal injuries or conditions, these same practices can help you enjoy better back health:
- be sensible when engaging in sports and other strenuous activities
- use recommended safety equipment
- heed the advice of coaches and trainers
In industrial workplaces and other occupational environments where physical hazards are present, diligently follow all safety procedures mandated by management, unions or other relevant authorities.
A regular exercise program appropriate to your current spinal health and overall physical condition can promote greater strength and flexibility in your back and neck. Physical activity will also make you more resistant to back injuries and disorders and reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. For those recovering from surgery or other treatments, supervised exercise or physical therapy can definitely impact your successful long-term recovery.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can intensify the strains and stresses on back and neck bones, muscles and joints that occur naturally with normal activity and aging. Know and be aware of the implications of your own body mass index (BMI). Even losing just a little bit of weight can substantially reduce the effects of excess weight on your back. The Back Center at Vincera can refer you to experts in such allied fields as physical therapy, nutrition and bariatric medicine who can help support your efforts to successfully manage your weight and enhance the health of your back.
Follow a healthy diet. Older women (as well as some men) can develop deficiencies in calcium and other nutrients that can impact the health of bones, muscles and connective tissue and lead to debilitating conditions such as osteoporosis. So good nutrition can be critical to lifetime back and spine health. The best way to start exploring your nutritional needs is to first discuss the issue with your primary care physician. He can assess the possible need for testing, nutritional supplements or dietary modifications and make referrals to appropriate specialized professionals—including nutritionists at The Back Center at Vincera.
Maintain good posture. Poor postural habits or ergonomic conditions in your occupational or personal life can aggravate existing back and neck disorders or cause new ones. Your primary care doctor can give you an overall perspective. If you work for a midsized or larger organization, a staff member or consultant with expertise in office ergonomics may also be available; customized furniture and equipment designed to meet your specialized needs might be available. The Back Center at Vincera can also direct you to appropriate information and resources.
Besides the perilous effects on the lungs and cardiovascular system, tobacco products can have detrimental neurological and musculoskeletal effects that can contribute to or aggravate spinal injuries and disorders.
Have Your Medications Evaluated
In some instances, medications you take for unrelated conditions may have side effects that could impact back and neck disorders or the effectiveness of treatments or your recovery from surgical or other treatment approaches. In coordination with the primary care physician, the medical team at The Back Center at Vincera can evaluate your overall medication regimen for possible implications.
To set up your appointment at The Back Center at Vincera, contact us at: 267.592.3200 or via email us