Back and neck care for residents of Gainesville, the Southeast and beyond takes a significant step forward with the launch of the UF Health Comprehensive Spine Center.
Using a multidisciplinary approach, the center unites spine, neck and back pain experts from several UF College of Medicine departments under one roof, including neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, pain physicians and neurologists.
“The current state of spine care in the U.S. is very fragmented — patients go from location to location, seeing multiple doctors, often ending up frustrated and without any solutions,” said Daniel Hoh, M.D., a UF Health neurosurgeon and an associate professor in the department of neurosurgery. “This center provides a system where patients don’t need to see two or three different physicians for surgical and nonsurgical opinions, or wait to be referred elsewhere. The resources are all right here and are available for patients seeking same-day appointments.”
Experts estimate that nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population will experience back problems during their lifetime. The root cause of back and neck pain can be wide-ranging, leaving patients unsure of where to seek an initial consultation. This type of pain is the second-leading cause of primary care physician visits, and E.R.s are another common point of entry for these patients.
Kevin Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation, said this often leads to a delayed diagnosis. The center, he said, represents a much-needed move toward more comprehensive back and neck care.
“Our multidisciplinary approach will allow us to address the reasons behind back pain more quickly,” said Vincent, the medical operations director of the UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute. “This will lead to less use of medications that frequently aren’t beneficial, particularly narcotics and muscle relaxants. Additionally, it will lead to more appropriate use of advanced imaging and testing.”
Centrally locating specialists from various medical disciplines also will reduce referrals, expedite the process of connecting patients with the appropriate care expert and provide a wider range of treatment options.
The UF Health Comprehensive Spine Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in the neuromedicine clinic within the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital.