Relief for back pain

About 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point.

Back pain can be caused when the spine is stressed by an accident, poor posture or body mechanics, disease, or normal wear and tear. 

Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain usually comes on suddenly with intense pain that eases off after a few days or weeks. It often goes away with rest, exercise and other self-care measures. Chronic pain is pain that continues even if you get professional treatment.

How spine treatment works

Whether you have sciatica, back pain, a pinched nerve, a herniated or bulging disc, numb fingers, a stiff neck, or some other mysterious pain, the first step in receiving treatment for your chronic back, neck or spine-related pain is to set up an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP). You’ll then begin treatment (which may include anti-inflammatory medicine, muscle relaxants, and/or physical therapy) to relieve symptoms, depending on your condition.

Your goal should be to complete all of the steps below before you ask your PCP for a referral to a specialist or surgeon:

  • Have an initial evaluation/exam with your PCP.

  • Take medications as recommended.

  • Get initial diagnostic tests such as MRI and treatment such as physical therapy if your PCP recommends them.

Most people with spine-related pain (more than 80 percent) do not require surgery.

Your PCPs goal is offer the treatment and level of care that meets your needs but also to minimize unnecessary and expensive surgery. However, if your symptoms have not improved after four weeks of PCP treatment, then you should ask to be referred to the Salem Health Spine Center.

What you may not know about back and spine surgery

Because you may have to wait two months or more to get an appointment with a spine surgeon — and because surgery is actually required less than 20 percent of the time — patients in pain often wait for weeks just to be told surgery isn't the right answer for them.

With the help of the Salem Health Spine Center, people with neck, spine or back problems will get the answers they need faster. You will:

  • Speak directly with a provider about your back pain.

  • Enjoy our simplified referral process.

  • Avoid extra office visits you don't really need.

  • Get care all in one place, from one team.

  • Receive timely treatment, guided by a spine specialist.

Learn more about the Salem Health Spine Center’s approach to back pain.

Need a PCP to check out your back pain?

Search our docfinder pages to locate one who fits your needs and is accepting new patients.