Get Back To Doing What You Love
Back and neck pain shouldn’t keep you from enjoying all life has to offer. At Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, we’ll work closely with you to find a treatment that helps relieve your pain and gets you feeling like yourself again.
And we understand that starting your treatment journey can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ll be by your side every step of the way. We’ll discuss all of your treatment options – starting with minimally invasive, conservative care and considering surgical options when appropriate – putting you at the center of the decision making process.
Together, we’ll help you get back to doing what you love.
Spine care means more than performing procedures. It means surrounding you with a supportive team of experts who understand the impact that back and neck pain can have on your life. Our experienced spine doctors, surgeons, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, exercise therapists and pain experts all share common goals: to relieve your pain, restore your function and return you to good health with as little intervention as possible.
We’ll start with a thorough physical evaluation and may order imaging tests, like an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Then, we’ll make a plan that addresses your pain at its source and improves your symptoms and mobility.
Throughout your treatment, we’ll check in with how you’re feeling, track your progress and make adjustments as needed—because back and neck support means more here.
Back and neck pain affects roughly 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives. It’s so common that it’s also the most popular reason people go to see their doctor. Fortunately, most back and neck pain improves on its own. But, if you’ve been suffering from persistent aches and pains that keep you from enjoying daily activities, it might be time to see your doctor.
The Providence spine care team treats many neck and back conditions, including:
- Back strain or sprain – An injury to a muscle or tendon. A sprain is a pulled or torn ligament.
- Broken vertebrae – Osteoporosis can cause a compression fracture. A traumatic accident may cause broken vertebrae.
- Degenerative disk disease – Natural, age-related wear and tear on the spine can sometimes cause pain. This is also called spinal spondylosis.
- Diskitis – Occurs when there is an infection in the spinal disks. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria.
- Herniated disk – Occurs when the soft center of your spinal disk pushes through the tough exterior wall of the disk. It is also called a bulging disk.
- Low back pain – Can be caused by several conditions including herniated disks, osteoarthritis, sciatica and more.
- Multiple sclerosis – Back pain can be a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). It can be caused by damaged nerves or other MS-related health conditions.
- Myelopathy – Caused by an injury or spine condition that compresses the spinal cord.
- Neck pain – Neck pain can be caused by many conditions, including a bulging disk, spondylosis and others.
- Osteoporosis – Arthritis in your spine most commonly affects your low back.
- Pinched nerve – A pinched nerve (radiculopathy) can cause pain in other areas of your body, including your legs or hips.
- Scoliosis – A congenital condition that causes your spine to curve.
- Sciatica – Sciatica nerve pain can radiate down one or both legs. It’s typically caused by a herniated disk.
- Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis) – This condition occurs when a vertebra slips out of place and rests on the vertebra below it.
- Spinal stenosis – A narrowing of the spaces in your spine.
There are many effective ways to treat neck and back pain without surgery. You can be confident that your spine care team will always start with the most conservative care plan for you. Your team will discuss your treatment options, which may include any of the following.
- Physical therapy –A physical therapist will work with you to create an exercise plan that targets those muscles and helps you regain strength and range of motion.
- Physiatry – A physiatrist is a medical doctor with specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They focus on your whole body and recommend treatments that address your symptoms.
- Medication management – Medications, like anti-inflammatories and non-narcotic pain relievers can help you take better control of your symptoms – and keep you moving.
- Injection therapies –Injections are a minimally invasive spine care approach that can provide long-lasting treatment.
- Diet changes – A healthy diet (and one that avoids trans fats, refined sugars and processed foods) can help reduce inflammation and maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise – Low impact exercise, such as swimming, biking or yoga, can help you gain strength and improve flexibility – and reduce your back or neck pain.
- Lifestyle modifications – Your doctor can also discuss lifestyle modifications that can help reduce your back or neck pain.
- Alternative therapies – Sometimes, alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, biofeedback therapy or electric nerve stimulation can help reduce your back or neck pain.
If non-surgical treatments aren’t relieving your pain, your team may recommend spine surgery. Fortunately, advances in neurosurgery mean there are more minimally invasive surgical approaches for neck and back pain than ever before. In many cases, these procedures use technology to precisely guide your surgeon’s movements, meaning smaller incisions and shorter recovery times.
Our spine surgeons are experienced in many procedures, including:
- Spinal decompression – Decompression surgery can help relieve back pain. There are many different types of decompression surgery:
- Laminectomy – One or more lamina vertebra is removed
- Laminotomy – A small portion of the lamina is removed
- Foraminotomy – The area around the affected vertebra is enlarged
- Microdiscectomy – A portion of a herniated disk is removed through a small incision during a minimally invasive procedure
- Disk replacement surgery – Your surgeon will replace a damaged disk with an artificial one. This helps reduce pain and improve range of motion.
- Kyphoplasty – A minimally invasive surgical procedure, kyphoplasty can help treat spinal compression fractures caused by osteoporosis.
- Spinal fusion – Spinal fusion permanently joins (fuses) two or more vertebrae together. This helps reduce instability, improve range of motion and ease pain. It’s used to treat many conditions, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disease, scoliosis and others.
- Spinal reconstruction surgery – This advanced procedure replaces deformed or misaligned portions of the spine with artificial disks and hardware. This helps align and stabilize the spine, which improves mobility and quality of life.
- Vertebroplasty – A surgeon will insert a special cement-type mixture into your fractured vertebra to help relieve pain and improve your mobility.
When it comes to treating neck and back pain, no two care plans are alike. That’s why our Providence team includes neurosurgeons, spine and pain specialists, pharmacologists, pain psychologists and a dedicated team of nurses and support staff to create a plan that’s right – just for you.
We get to know you – your symptoms, your goals, your lifestyle. Then, we’ll start with a conservative approach that may include physical therapy and medications. Bottom line – we want to get you moving, pain-free with as little intervention as possible.
This approach has been proven time and time again. And, Providence St. Patrick Hospital has been honored to receive several awards that recognize this dedication. Those awards include:
- Healthgrades Five-Star for Spinal Fusion Surgery for 4 years in a row (2019-2022)
- US News High Performing Hospital for Spinal Fusion (2021-22)
- US News Best Hospital in Montana – Recognized in 11 Types of Care (2021-22)
- Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award (2014-2021)
- Top 5% in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience (2018-2021)
- Top 10% in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience (2016-2021)
- Top 15% in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience (2014-2021)
Start your journey today, in partnership with St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula or St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson. We serve patients from the Bitterroot Valley to the Flathead Valley and everywhere in between.
Tips for Managing Back or Neck Pain
Neck and back pain can keep you from doing what you love. Learn how to manage your pain, and what treatment options are available.