Our Team Approach - Ann Arbor Spine Center
Back and neck pain sufferers shouldn't have to travel all over town to see various doctors. Ann Arbor Spine Center recognizes the national trend in spine care is to take a Center of Excellence approach, with a multidisciplinary team of spine specialists working together under one roof, emphasizing nonsurgical options.
Ann Arbor Spine Center is a new regional spine center geared specifically to improving the care for back and neck patients in southeast Michigan. Ann Arbor Spine Center includes the expertise of board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) physicians, Dr. Andrew Egger and Dr. Michael Louwers, board-certified neurosurgeons specializing in spine, Dr. Jason Brodkey and Dr. Geoffrey Thomas, along with board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, Dr. Mark H. Falahee and Dr. Douglas Geiger. The center is able to care for any type of back or neck problem, from the simple back or neck strain all the way to the most complex spine surgery. Ann Arbor Spine Center, locations in Ypsilanti, Brighton and Chelsea, involves non-surgical specialists including physical medicine and physical therapists who have advanced training in back pain and neck pain. Because Ann Arbor Spine Center has X-ray and injection therapy nearby, the back or neck pain patient no longer has to drive around town for care. All the necessary diagnostic testing and non-operative treatment under one roof eliminates the need for multiple referrals, delayed care and confusion.
A nonsurgical approach to back and neck pain
What makes our spine center unique is its emphasis on a nonsurgical approach to back and neck problems. Typically, advanced spine centers in the United States use PMR physicians (physiatrists) because they have advanced training in non-surgical treatment of spine problems. They focus on understanding how posture, walking, standing and sitting affect the spine. Physiatrists have specialized training that helps patients recover from back and neck strain "without surgery".* Dr. Andrew Egger and Dr. Michael Louwers are board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians at Ann Arbor Spine Center. Drs. Egger and Louwers are both fellowship-trained in Interventional Pain Management and are proficient in the evaluation of spine patients, diagnostics, injection therapy and EMGs.
However, if your back or neck problem requires surgery, the spine specialized neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons at Ann Arbor Spine Center already treat the area's most complex surgical cases. These cases include herniated discs, spinal fractures, spinal deformity, spinal tumor and scoliosis. Our surgeons use some of the most advanced instrumentation and spine surgery techniques.
Unlike many other spine care providers, the spine patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery at Ann Arbor Spine Center can often have their surgery on an outpatient basis and be home later the same day. Some cases can be done in an outpatient setting, which enables patients to go home the same day. Recovery in one's own home can be more comfortable than staying in a hospital bed.
Pain relief through a focus on function
Pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. Either the back is too weak, too inflexible, something lifted was too heavy or the wrong body mechanics were used. And, unfortunately, those doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms often recommend a course of treatment that is the exact opposite of what the individual needs to recover from the back problem.
Years ago, for example, doctors treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the discomfort. It was found, however, that this type of treatment was actually damaging to the back, because it caused muscles in the back to get weaker, in turn, causing more strain and pain. Patients became more dependent on drugs and grew more inactive and disabled.
In fact, pain relief actually can come through movement. Low-impact sports like walking and swimming are the best way to make the back feel better and stronger.
*Source: Treat Your Back Without Surgery, published by Hunter House, 1st and 2nd editions.
Treat Your Back Without Surgery is co-authored by a prominent spine surgeon and founder of one of the first and largest spine centers in the U.S., along with the President of Prizm Development Inc., which specializes in spine center development nationally. The book has been endorsed by both business leaders and medical directors as a helpful guide for those seeking a nonsurgical approach to back and neck pain.
*Source: The concept of centers of excellence is widely supported by Medicare, managed care leaders and business leaders. One of the most widely quoted persons on this subject is Dr. Regina Herzlinger, professor at Harvard Business School. She is the author of two highly respected textbooks on the subjects of "focused factories" for excellence in health care.
1. Market Driven Health Care, 1997.
2. Consumer Driven Health Care, 2004.
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