By Dr. David Kartzman
For the past few years I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the neurosurgery group from the University of Rochester. Our goal has been to create a Community Spine Program in the Southern Tier. In addition, I was the only spine provider from the Southern Tier to be invited to the pilot of a 36-hour course to develop the concept of a Primary Spine Care Provider.
In April 2015, we presented this idea to the medical and chiropractic practitioners in this area. We were well received as we described what can be a more effective way to work with spine pain patients.
A community spine program is one where providers – medical and chiropractic – work together to manage patients with back and neck problems. With this process as part of treatment, our goal is to improve communication, reduce unnecessary testing, and try to educate our patients. In addition, it can allow patients to be transitioned to home care sooner.
This is a program which really has three basic parts. First is patient education. Healing can begin when people understand the nature of their pain as well as care and diagnostic testing – using diagrams and models (and my bad drawings!). They can be given an idea about what parts of the anatomy are involved. They can also understand their injury in relationship to their activities. Most importantly, by doing this they can become active partners in making decisions regarding their care.
The second part is communication between providers. It is common that people will need to see other providers outside of our office. This may be for additional care such as medication or a surgical evaluation. This may also be for a separate health care issue. By sharing that information with another provider, care is now more efficient. That provider is now up-to-speed. It is a better use of the patient’s time and health care resources.
The third part is for the patient to take control of their injury. With strong recognition in the literature that exercise is a vital part of recovery, we stress the importance of what you can do outside of the office. This may include the task-oriented exercises, flexibility, or applying good body mechanics. In addition, the more you know and feel you can ask questions, the better the prognosis.
If you want to know more just call or e-mail. I enjoy discussing this. Thank you.