Back and Neck Pain

For expert, comprehensive care for back and neck pain, turn to the skilled team at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). We use advanced diagnostic testing to identify the source of the pain and create a customized treatment plan to improve your symptoms and your quality of life.

Back and neck pain can make even small movements challenging, and you may find it challenging to routine tasks. The team at LVHN works to get you precise diagnosis and treatment.   

What is back and neck pain?

Back and neck pain start in the soft tissues, bones or joints of the neck and back.

Why choose LVHN for back and neck pain care?

At LVHN, you find:

  • Expert diagnosis: We use the latest diagnostic technology to identify the cause of your pain.
  • Comprehensive treatment: From physical therapy and steroid shots, to advanced surgical procedures, we provide all types of back pain treatment.

Neck and back pain symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the cause of the pain and can include:

  • Aching or stabbing pain
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Burning, tingling, numbness or weakness
  • Pain over the entire back or only on one side
  • Shooting pain from the buttock down the leg
  • Neck pain radiating into the upper back and scalp

Diagnosis and treatment for back and neck pain

Many conditions cause back and neck pain, making a diagnosis challenging. Our providers are experts at diagnosing back and neck pain.

We may perform tests including:

  • X-ray: An X-ray provides detailed pictures of internal tissues, bones and organs
  • MRI: A large magnet and radio waves produce detailed images of the body.
  • CT (computed tomography) scan: X-rays and computer technology produce detailed images of the body.
  • EMG, or electromyography: Tiny electrodes inserted into muscle test for abnormal electrical signals.
  • Myelography: This test uses a special dye that we inject to highlight the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Radioactive bone scan: This imaging test shows blood flow to the bone and cellular activity in a bone.
  • Spinal tap: We take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid and analyze it for elevated pressure, infection, bleeding or tumors.

Conservative, nonsurgical neck and back pain treatment

We usually start with nonsurgical treatment methods, including:

At-home treatment

You might find relief from simple measures at home. Over-the-counter medications, ice or heat, and light activity can reduce pain and loosen muscles.

Physical therapy and exercise

Our therapists can help relieve your pain and improve function. We use heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle release techniques. You might also learn exercises to increase flexibility, strengthen muscles and improve posture.

Pain management

Treatment may include physiatry, medications or injections to help with pain relief.

Surgery for back and neck pain

Most people do not need surgery for back pain. The most common back pain surgery is for herniated discs. Our surgeons use advanced methods, including minimally invasive procedures.

We discuss surgery with you when you have:

  • Tried conservative treatments without improvement
  • Significant loss of mobility, weakness and pain
  • Clinical indication or appropriate diagnosis