UAMS Health Back and Neck Clinic Launched

By Ben Boulden

“When you integrate and combine specialty providers you can provide care that is more streamlined,” said J.D. Day, M.D., a UAMS Neurosurgeon “I expect that we can reduce unnecessary procedures and imaging studies by improving how patients get care.  We want patients to have the right care at the right time with the right specialist for their neck or back problem.”

Day also is a professor and the chairman of the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“Back and neck pain will affect over 50-80% of all adults at some point,” Michael Cassat, M.D., a UAMS family medicine and sports medicine physician said. “When it happens to you it can affect sleep, work, and your ability to live your life. We wanted to establish a clinic that offered care when you need it, either the same or next day when your pain starts. Our physicians and physical therapists work together as a close knit team to accomplish these goals and help you get back to you.”

When someone experiences acute back or neck pain, they often are given many tests, including an MRI. After all those tests, about 80% of people are referred to physical therapy. The Back and Neck Clinic has turned this process around.

“Nearly everyone will encounter an episode of back or neck pain at some point in life,” David Bumpass, M.D., a UAMS orthopaedic spine surgeon, said. “We want to change the paradigm of back and spine care in Arkansas, and help people get back to feeling well quickly without having to navigate multiple layers of the healthcare system.  The concept in our new clinic is to get patients on the road to recovery with immediate treatment at their first visit.”

Medical help for back or neck pain may be needed if a patient has pain that has lasted more than 72 hours, has difficulty sleeping, has a hard time performing household tasks or participating in sports and leisure activities or finds it challenging to work because of pain.

At the clinic during their first visit, a primary care physician who specializes in spine and sports injuries will discuss with a patient their issues and order imaging only if needed. Next, a physical therapist specially trained in back issues will ask a patient questions, do a thorough evaluation and develop a recovery plan.

If physical therapy is determined to be the best treatment, a therapy session will begin during that first appointment. If surgery or an interventional pain referral is indicated, an appointment with a surgeon or pain care specialist will be scheduled.

“Very few patients with back and neck pain actually need surgery and most improve with physical therapy and nonsurgical measures alone,” Day said. “We also have interventional pain specialists who perform procedures that relieve pain when surgery is not indicated. Our new clinic offers an improved pathway to care for these common problems.”

Appointments are available the same or next business day following your appointment request. Referrals are not required unless required by your health insurance. To schedule an appointment, call 501-686-5270. To learn more, click here.