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Advanced Spine Center Offers More Doctors, Clinicians

Enhanced access means faster resolution of people’s pain

Better Medicine Winter 2024 Advanced Spine

When someone is experiencing back pain – whether it’s acute or chronic – you want to get them to the right specialist, fast. The good news? The Advanced Spine Center at Lehigh Valley Health Network has recently expanded the number of approved doctors and clinicians trained in spine care. Modalities include physiatry, pain management, chiropractic care, neurology and orthopedics.

The expansion of available doctors and clinicians ensures timely patient triage and scheduling, explains Anant Parikh, MD, Chief, Division of Pain Management, Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute.

“Doctors and clinicians in the system simply make a referral in Epic. Those outside the network call,” he says. “Our scheduling team then calls the individual directly to get them scheduled at a geographically convenient office based on an in-depth conversation about symptoms. This makes sure the experience is seamless and efficient for both doctors and clinicians, and patients.”

In terms of referrals, “the Advanced Spine Center takes away the unknown about where to direct patients when they have spinal complaints or imaging findings that may warrant further evaluation,” adds Chirag Kalola, MD, physiatrist with Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute. “Often, patients don’t need a surgeon right away. We’re here to help them navigate nonsurgical therapies, as well as coordinate care with our surgical colleagues when pain cannot be resolved through more conservative measures.”

Care for more than the body

Nonsurgical treatments offered through the Advanced Spine Center include chiropractic care, injection therapies and physical therapy. Dr. Parikh notes that long-term opioid management is not part of the equation. Complementary modalities, such as acupuncture, also are available via approved doctors and clinicians. People who are experiencing pain due to excess weight may be referred for medical weight loss or bariatric consultation.

One aspect of the Advanced Spine Center’s comprehensive spine care continuum Dr. Kalola is particularly proud of is its embedded behavioral health specialist Amanda Green, LSCW, who helps people through behavioral health interventions.

“An untreated element of back pain, especially chronic pain, is the psychosocial element,” he says. “Seeing a behavioral health specialist to address the mind-body connection can really help a patient manage their thinking as far as their pain is concerned. This is a huge differentiator for our program.”

The right place for structural issues

While a vast majority of people come through the Advanced Spine Center doors for back or neck pain, it’s also appropriate to send people who may have incidental findings, even in the absence of symptoms, for further evaluation.

“Whether a patient is being sent to us because of an incidental finding on an image or there is pain, dysfunction or weakness, we’re here and ready to get them to the right resources,” Dr. Kalola says.

Referral Center

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Refer a patient

To refer a patient or to request an appointment, call 833-LV-ORTHO.


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