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Neck and Back Pain: When Should You Refer Your Patients to a Neurosurgeon?

Neck and Back Pain: When Should You Refer Your Patients to a Neurosurgeon?
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Dr. Patrick Connolly discusses when to consider referring patients to neurosurgeons for neck and back pain, and the best surgical options available.
  • Overview

    Back and neck pain is extremely common, with 80-90% of people experiencing some pain within their lifetime.  About 90% of cases resolve within six weeks, but for those patients whose pain persists, questions arise as to who should be referred next for further consultation. While patients often see a spine specialist at first, the care journey sometimes leads to a neurosurgeon or orthopaedic spine surgeon. Can this pathway from primary care to neurosurgery or orthopaedic surgery ever be expedited?

    Dr. Patrick Connolly, neurosurgeon at Penn Medicine joins host Dr. Matt Birnholz to discuss when primary care physicians should consider referring patients to neurosurgeons for neck and back pain.  Dr. Connolly will also discuss the different types of surgical options for patients seeking prolonged back and neck pain relief. 

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