Generally, there are relatively few complications of chronic low back pain, though it can reduce patient mobility significantly. Rarely, in instances of spinal cord or nerve root compression, swift medical attention is required to prevent functional losses.
Many options exist for the management of chronic back pain, including:
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.
A thorough physical examination and patient history are mainstays of diagnosis for chronic low back pain. Usually a diagnosis can be made on this information alone, but in some cases additional tests will be ordered to exclude conditions that would put patient health at risk if left untreated. Such tests may include blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, MRI, diagnostic injections, electromyography, among others. It may be difficult to reach a definitive diagnosis at the conclusion of an initial visit, but ruling out more dangerous possibilities still makes for a successful evaluation. The overall goal of each case is to reduce pain, improve function, and improve patient quality of life.
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.