Section: Highlights

A Better Approach to Back Pain

01/04/2019
A Better Approach to Back Pain

Back pain is common. Unfortunately, successful evidence-based treatment is not.

“Those with back pain often end up seeing multiple doctors, waiting for imaging that offers little or no useful information, and pursuing solutions with no proven benefit,” explains Natalia Covarrubias, MD, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at St. Jude. “All of which delays recovery.”

The St. Jude Back Pain Program was created to offer patients comprehensive, effective care that avoids the wrong-turns and delays which often characterize treatment.

Getting the right diagnosis—quickly

The first step is accurate diagnosis: patients are evaluated by a physical therapist who specializes in neck and back pain, often within 48 hours of referral. “Through a comprehensive musculoskeletal exam we can usually identify the cause and degree of impairment,” explains Michael Heaton, PT, Supervisor, Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation Services, an experienced clinician in evidence-based approaches to back pain, from therapeutic exercise to myofascial release. “Treatment begins during the patient’s first appointment.”

The vast majority of patients, especially those with lower back pain, are successfully treated with noninvasive therapies, which may include acupuncture and biofeedback. But if more complex care is needed, Dr. Covarrubias directs and coordinates the next steps, whether that means a referral to a spine surgeon, more advanced pain interventions or additional testing.

From simple muscle strain to more complex issues

“Having a board-certified rehabilitation physician oversee and ‘quarter back’ treatment offers a huge advantage to our patients,” says Michael. “Her expertise allows patients to sidestep common mistakes, such as waiting to see the wrong specialist.”

Located at the St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea, the Back Pain Program also offers the benefits of a board-certified neuropsychologist, weight loss programs, and nationally-respected chronic pain program. “Our goal is to offer care that is as comprehensive and effective, as it is convenient,” explains Dr. Covarrubias.

To make an appointment with the St. Jude Back Pain Program, please call (714) 578-8720. A physician referral is required and services are covered by most insurance plans.

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