An estimated more than five million Americans experience low back pain. Chronic low back pain is the most common reason for disability in adults 45 years old and younger, and the most frequent symptomatic reason for visiting a physicians office and work absenteeism. Annual direct medical costs have been stated to approximate US $25 billion in the diagnosis, treatment, and lost productivity. Approximately 1/5 of the general population suffers from ongoing neck pain sometimes associated with arm and/or forearm pain.
Most of these painful spinal disorders can be diagnosed and treated non-surgically. However, certain spinal conditions or injuries are appropriately treated with surgical options. Yet, these surgical measures are becoming more and more minimally invasive.
The sub-specialty of physicians who evaluate and treat painful spinal disorders using percutaneous, x-ray guided procedures, practice Interventional Spine Care. Extensive research has demonstrated that the vast majority of patients experiencing low back pain have a specific and diagnosable source of their spine pain. Similar findings have been observed for neck complaints. Numerous articles have demonstrated that physical exam findings and diagnostic imaging characteristics do not reliable identify these painful structures. In these instances, precision, diagnostic, x-ray guided spinal procedures are utilized to verify whether a spinal structure is the source of the patient’s symptoms resulting in reduced function and quality of life. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, target-specific therapeutic procedures can be performed to reduce spinal pain, disability, and improve quality of life allowing patients to progress through exercise therapy to improve spine biomechanics and reduce spine strain and subsequent injury. In this fashion, Interventional Spine Care specialists identify the tissue source of injury responsible for the patient’s symptoms and disability relying on a tissue injury or disease oriented medical model rather than a symptom oriented medical model. Interventional Spine Care specialists work hand in hand with Surgical Spine specialists to accurately diagnose and therefore optimally treat painful spinal disorders with minimal tissue disruption.
If surgery is deemed appropriate, diagnostic spinal procedures may aid the surgeon in determining how best to treat the patient surgically. In this regard, an Interventional Spine Care specialist interfaces with Surgical Spine specialist in a collegial fashion to render the best spine medicine utilizing a specialized, outcomes-driven, multi-disciplinary approach.