The best place to go for your spinal care

My name is Ryan Church. I’m a nurse practitioner at Mountain Star Comprehensive Spine Center. So, at the Comprehensive Spine Center we specialize in taking in patients from all areas. The trouble with spine care is that patients and providers have been confused as to where to go for their spine care.

There’s so many options, physical therapy,acupuncture, massage, chiropractics, surgery. And often, primary care providers and internal medicine doctors, really don’t know where to go to next. And so, they’ll send a lot of those patients to a surgical office. I used to work in a surgical office and 80% of those people that were referred to us did not need surgery.

And so, I spent the bulk of my time,even back in my surgery days,working with a surgeon,taking care of patients non operatively. And so, that’s why we developed the Comprehensive Spine Center, to act as a kind of a case manage mentor kind of clearing house for all things spine. And then we act as a hub for your care after that. If you see a physical therapist and you don’t receive the care that you think you need, then I’ll find you another physical therapist. If your medications aren’t working,come back and see me, we’ll work it out. I always like to be that hub. I’ve been here long enough now, that I’ve seen people that I’ve sent for surgery two or three years ago, and they’ve come back to me with other issues.

Often it’s not their back, it may be their neck or a hip or a knee and they wanna come back and experience that type of care again and we’re happy to see all those folks too. If somebody was saying something about me,I would want them to say that we give quality evidence-based, compassionate care. But I can’t show gratitude about our practice without giving a great amount of thanks to our office manager and our office staff. This would not be possible without them. And then of course our patients. Our patients are fantastic and without them you know, of course we wouldn’t be here, so. We just love our patients and many of them we kind of become family with.

Non-surgical Options for Back Pain

When you come to see me at the Comprehensive Spine Center or one of my colleagues, we utilize the North American Spine Society guidelines for best practice, and that means we try to keep you away from surgery if we can. Now there are some good surgeries out there that can really help people even early on in their back pain, but usually there area lot of things that we can do to keep you away from the surgeon.

These things include physical therapy, pain medicine, stretching, exercises, education, activity modification, epidural steroid injections,injections near or around the facet joints, rhizotomies where we actually eliminate the nerves that send pain signals to the brain. I know that sounds scary, but usually it’s not the big nerves that cause muscle control, but the small nerves that send arthritis signals to the brain. Those are just some of the treatments that we can do at the Comprehensive Spine Center.

Surgical Treatment Options for Back Pain

There are basically two types of spine surgery. There is the decompression surgery. Now those types of surgery are for people who have,say, herniated disks where pieces of the cushion,that are between the bones and the spine,have broken off or are pooching out, hitting the nerves causing pain down the leg or numbness or weakness.

And decompression surgeries are where the doctor goes in,and does a rather simple procedure where they clean out the nerve windows to take pressure off of those nerves. The other type of surgery is typically a fusion type surgery. And that’s where there’s an instability in the spine and the spine needs to be stabilized. So what the surgeon will often do is go in,there’s many techniques to do that,take out the disk material between the bones,put in a spacer, often, and then hardware to immobilize that spine segment. The idea there being to decrease movement at that level, thereby decreasing the painful movement.

When to See a Spine Specialist

So, when should you come and see meat the Comprehensive Spine Center?Anytime you have a question. So, if you don’t know what to do and you’ve just hurt your back and it’s been one or two days,come and see me, we can usually get you in,in one to two business days, depending on where you live.

A lot of those folks will end up in their primary care office or in the emergency room,where they will get quality care, but if you have questions after that, please come and see one of my colleagues or myself at the Comprehensive Spine Center. We love to take care of patents anywhere along the continuum of care.

Now, if you’ve had pain for a while and it’s not going away, or the things that you’ve tried don’t seem to be helping, come and see us. And especially if you develop complicating factors, or what we call red flag issues, such as the numbness, tingling, weakness or loss of function in an arm or a leg, then we’d really like to see you then, because that’s when nerve damage starts to occur ,and the sooner we can address that,the higher the rate of cure we can achieve.