RICK GUSTAITIS, PT, DIP. MDT
Most people will experience back or neck pain at some time in their lives. According to the CDC, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in American adults and a common reason for lost days at work.
The Triage Spine Care program at OrthoCarolina Winston was developed to reduce clinical office visits by empowering patients to care for their spine and back in the comfort of their own homes. Using the McKenzie approach, this mechanical assessment of the spine empowers the patient to continue their own treatment outside of a physical therapy or doctor’s office. Patients in the Triage Spine Care program have reported as great as 75 to 80 percent improvement from their original back pain issues.
How does the Triage Spine Care program work?
In one visit you will meet with a physician or PA as well as an MDT-qualified physical therapist who will map out your care plan for home. During this visit they will lead you through a series of movements and activities designed to test your response to pain. They will look for the cause and effect relationship between your normal, everyday positions while moving, sitting and standing, and how pain occurs from those.
If a spine patient is part of the Triage Spine Care program, what should they expect during their visit?
On day one a patient can expect to be evaluated to determine if the lower back pain or neck pain is mechanical in nature. If it is, a treatment plan will be devised to immediately address your pain. It will include postural correction and an exercise plan to perform at home.
What conditions/types of back pain are best served by the program?
Generally, acute pain or pain of a mechanical nature can be served by the Triage Spine Care program. Chronic pain which may not appear to have a directional preference will not respond to this type of care. Your provider can determine if this program is suitable for your individual case.
What is the benefit of the McKenzie program vs. regular physical therapy visits?
The McKenzie approach focuses on the evaluation of the spine and determination if/or the joints have a direction of preference – a direction to move in – to best decrease or centralize pain. McKenzie MDT assessment is very strong in classifying patients to best determine an optimal treatment plan.
What does a patient need to know or do to ensure the McKenzie program is a success for them at home?
A patient needs to be compliant with the exercise the therapist has sent them home with along with the frequency of performing the plan. They are taught to self-monitor and adjust as needed.
What kind of follow up is available for patients?
Every patient is given a card with their provider’s email address and phone number and are encouraged to contact with questions or concerns. Many patients return within a week or two for a follow up and assessment that may include adjustment to the treatment plan. The average visits for a patient seen by an MDT-qualified therapist is two to four visits and the majority are about 80 percent better within those visits.
OrthoCarolina Winston offers a triage spine care program that enables the patient to have a visit, diagnosis and initial treatment with the physician or physician assistant and the physical therapist all within the same appointment. For more information call (336) 768-1270.