From weekend warriors who lifted something heavy in the garden to those with a slipped disc, individuals experiencing back and neck pain in North Texas can be seen quickly and receive a personalized care plan at Baylor Scott & White Back and Neck Center.

The team of experienced health care professionals provides advanced treatment options for many spine conditions, from back and neck injuries to complex or chronic disorders. Elizabeth Clark, nurse practitioner and clinical manager for the center, shared information about the center’s treatment plans for alleviating patients’ pain.

Baylor Scott & White Back and Neck Center is a regional program serving Plano, McKinney, Frisco and Rowlett and is in the process of expanding. To book an appointment, patients with acute or chronic pain can self-schedule or be referred by an emergency room or primary care doctor.

What to know about the spine

The spine has 33 small bones called vertebrae that are stacked above one other with a soft disk in between each pair. The disks allow movement between vertebrae and act as shock absorbers in the spine. The vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Numerous conditions can affect the vertebrae, disks, spinal cord and nerves in the back and neck.

Some of the conditions the team at Baylor Scott & White Back and Neck Center treats include:
  • Cervical kyphosis
  • Bulging discs
  • Herniated disc
  • Myelopathy
  • Scoliosis
Creating a treatment plan

Clark said when a patient comes in for pain, they get a full evaluation from a highly trained advanced practice provider.

The nurse practitioners and physician assistants working in the program have experience in neurology, neurosurgery, trauma, emergency room and pain management. Thanks to their extensive expertise, the clinicians have skillfully created a set of questions that are pertinent to patients experiencing back and neck pain.

After identifying patients’ symptoms and any red flags that might constitute emergency treatment, the health care professional builds the patient a multidisciplinary treatment plan to address and fix the underlying issue causing pain.

“Lots of studies show that if you have a multidisciplinary approach to back and neck pain, which are two of the most common issues of all humans, you are more likely to not need surgery and have better outcomes,” Clark said.

Red flag symptoms that need immediate medical attention include:
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Inability to walk due to weakness in one leg, or one leg gives out
  • Sudden, new symptoms that are progressively worsening
Clark said these red flag symptoms are indicators of spinal cord compression and urgent intervention is needed right away.

Pain management

Clark said that while the center has quality neurosurgeons and spine surgeons, providers will usually start treatment on the conservative side through noninvasive methods such as physical therapy, interventional pain management doctors and even a clinical psychologist.

Patients who need to go to the next tier of treatment may see physical medicine rehabilitation doctors or interventional pain management doctors. Clark said in the midst of an opioid epidemic, providers want to treat the patient appropriately and actually fix the problem, not just mask it.

Navigating treatment

Patients working with a Baylor Scott & White provider have constant support from the team through Baylor Scott & White’s treatment dashboard.

“Back and neck pain evaluation and treatment can be a really daunting, consuming process,” she said. “Programs like this are unique and really helpful for the patient.”

Another significant aspect of the program is expert case reviews, during which providers discuss cases and look for ways to improve care, she said.

“All of the surgeons and doctors that are part of this program are required to attend the quality meetings,” Clark said. “I think it's important that patients know we’re constantly looking at patient outcomes and evaluating the appropriateness of the treatment. I think that's another thing that sets us apart.”

Find care near you

Visit the link for more information about the Baylor Scott & White Back and Neck Center. Visit to find a back and neck center provider. Additionally, Baylor Scott & White has a free app called MyBSWHealth that can help patients schedule appointments and even access virtual care visits for certain conditions.

Looking for a location near you? The Baylor Scott & White health care system includes 51 hospitals, more than 800 patient care sites and more than 7,300 active physicians. Find care near you.

Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of Baylor Scott & White Health or those medical centers.

The above story was produced by Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.