Generally, most processes involved in acute cases are benign, however, rarely an underlying pathology may be involved. These cases are prone to occur in individuals over the age of 50, and may include cancer or infectious etiologies. Symptoms to watch out for include fever, severe pain at rest, severe pain in the legs, bladder or bowel problems, or pain lasting more than six weeks, among others. In these situations, medical evaluation is strongly recommended.
Management of neck pain usually involves continuing with normal daily activities, though modifications are sometimes required to minimize pain or exacerbation of injury. The temptation is often to limit entirely usage of the painful structures, but this can lead to maladaptive behaviors, and will slow the healing process. Movement pumps blood flow over injured regions, and supports them with crucial healing factors. Pain can also be further managed with NSAIDs or other pain relievers, and warm or cold compresses.
For acute and sometimes chronic pain primarily in the back or neck it’s very reasonable to seek care from one of our spine physical therapists. For many insurances, referrals are not required. Dr. Paul’s team works closely with the therapists. They often facilitate referrals to Dr. Paul and his spine surgery partners.
The diagnostic modality of choice is x-ray imaging to give the physician a full view of the back and neck structures, though in many cases imaging is not even required. A doctor can usually make the diagnosis with only the physical examination and patient history, but in some cases further diagnostics will be ordered to exclude more concerning possibilities. The primary goal of treatment for acute neck pain is to resolve the episode as quickly as possible and return the patient to prior functioning.
DAY OF SURGERY INFORMATION
Drive to the South parking garage. Free Valet parking is available during business hours. If you self-park, take the elevator from the garage to the first floor to enter the main hospital lobby. Wheelchairs are available if needed. Take the D elevator to the 2nd floor. Proceed to the Surgical and Endoscopy Check-In Desk. Here you and your family will be checked in and escorted to the Pre-op Area to be prepared for surgery. Up to two family members may wait with you until you are taken to surgery. Your family may then wait in the Surgical Waiting room until notified by the surgeon that the surgery has been completed. A receptionist will take down contact information so that your family may be easily reached to speak with Dr. Paul. Complimentary coffee is available for your family while in the Surgical Waiting room. The cafeteria and gift shop are on the ground floor in the North area of the hospital and the coffee shop is in the South area of the hospital for your family’s convenience.
In the preoperative room you will be prepared for surgery. The team will be checking your vital signs, starting your IV, validating your medications, health history, lab results and any follow up for additional testing needed. At this time, they will obtain your consent for surgery and answer any questions you may still have. Your anesthesiologist will see you and your family prior to your surgery. Dr. Paul, Adam or Kevin will mark your surgical site. You will be escorted to the operating room by cart. Your family can wait in the surgical waiting room. Dr. Paul will call them when surgery is completed. If he can not reach them, he will leave a message with the Patient Liaison. Following surgery you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where you will recover for an hour or more. During this time, pain and nausea control will be established and your vital signs will be monitored frequently.