Frequently Asked Questions

Texas Back Institute  offers a wide variety of medical services for your back, spine and pain management, including: Acute and Chronic pain.

At Texas Back Institute,  all patients are welcome to contact us to have their questions answered. For your convenience, we have listed here many of the questions we receive most often with our responses, please feel free to contact us or ASK A DOC.

About Us

How is Texas Back Institute different from other spine care clinics?

From the beginning, our goal has been to become a center of excellence, integrating the best of science and education with the best business practices. We are one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary academic spine centers in the world. Our doctors are involved in the latest technological advancements and medical breakthroughs, taking the lead and participating in numerous FDA trials, and training new spine surgeons through our fellowship program. But most importantly, we are dedicated to getting our patients back to life.

How can I make an appointment to see a Texas Back Institute physician?

If you’d like to schedule a new patient appointment, please call Texas Back Institute at 972-608-5000 or 800-247-BACK (2225). Our scheduling coordinator will match you and your specific need with the appropriate facility/physician. Once an appointment has been scheduled, you can print the new patient forms from our website or have them emailed to you.

What can I expect on my first appointment?

On the day of your appointment, you will need to arrive with the new patient forms completed, and any films and reports from previous doctors. A chart will then be created and you’ll meet with your new doctor. The Texas Back Institute physician will get your history, do the examination and review the prior x-rays and reports. It may be necessary to order new testing on this day or in the near future. Once all testing has been done and information has been gathered, the physician can then give a diagnosis and treatment options.

What types of medical specialists can I expect to see at Texas Back Institute?

The Texas Back Institute medical team comprises board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, medical physicians, internists, psychiatrists, pain specialists, exercise physiologists and a team of physical therapists who are dedicated to helping patients get back to life.

Is there a Texas Back Institute clinic location close to my home or office?

Texas Back Institute has locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. To learn more about each of our clinics please visit our clinics page. When you call to schedule an appointment, we will match you and your specific need with the appropriate facility and physician.

What questions I should ask my back or neck surgeon?

The most important thing to gain from the visit with the spine surgeon is to know the diagnosis. Once we figure out what is going on, we develop a treatment plan for each patient. Best advice we can give: be honest. Tell us how the back or neck pain is affecting you. That will help us determine how best to treat you.

I've heard a lot about artificial discs. Who can be treated with these?

Artificial disc replacement (ADR) or total disc replacement (TDR) is a solution if you have disabling pain from disc degeneration in the low back or neck. ADRs provide pain relief while preserving motion.

Low back ADRs are typically used for low back pain, while neck artificial disc replacements are used for both neck and arm pain caused by a pinched nerve from a damaged disc. Patients are generally not considered candidates for lumbar (low back) artificial disc replacement surgery unless they have failed to find relief from active therapy with or without injections and medications for a period of at least six months and are being considered and evaluated for a lumbar fusion.

  • Patients with low bone density
  • Patients with a significant curve of the spine
  • Patients with instability or too much motion of the spine with bending

A cervical (neck) ADR may be appropriate if a patient has not responded to a minimum of six weeks of treatment with medication, therapy or injections and is being considered for a fusion. Patients with osteoporosis or fractured spines are generally not candidates. Only after being evaluated by a surgeon can it be determined if TDR is a viable option for you.

Fortunately, the surgeons at Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX are leaders in the field of disc replacement. The first Charité and ProDisc artificial disc replacements implanted in the United States were done in Plano by Texas Back Institute spine surgeons. Many U.S. spine surgeons, both orthopedic and neurosurgical spine specialists, have been trained directly by Texas Back Institute surgeons. Since performing the first ADR procedure in the United States in 2000, Texas Back Institute has performed more than 1,500 artificial disc replacement procedures with more than 14 different types of ADR devices.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

A new concept has evolved through the years called minimally invasive surgery. The idea is to accomplish the same treatment goal as with traditional surgery, but to do so with much less trauma to muscle and other tissues. Reducing such trauma generally leads to a shorter time to return to activities. Minimally invasive back surgery is performed through small incisions and frequently uses specialized x-ray techniques in surgery to localize the areas to be worked on instead of opening the area for direct inspection. Often, tubes are put through the small incisions to reach the spine. Some of the types of back surgery that can be done using minimally invasive techniques are discectomy, fusion and the placement of screws and rods in the spine. Many of the surgeons at Texas Back Institute have been pioneers in this field and have directly contributed to the development of the techniques and instruments used.

How should I decide if spinal surgery is right for me?

It depends on your diagnosis. For some conditions, such as infections or fractures, surgery may be the only treatment option. For most other conditions, like herniated discs or sciatica, conservative care treatment, including medications and physical therapy, is the first treatment option. If physical therapy and medications do not work, patients may need a spinal injection. At Texas Back Institute surgery is always a last resort. At each step along the way, we reevaluate the patient and the effects of the spine pain on function and lifestyle. Once the patient gets to an acceptable level of pain and function, we slow down and hopefully the patient continues to get better.

I don't want to have surgery. What are my other options?

I have off-and-on episodes of back pain, sometimes mild and sometimes pretty bad. I’ve put off seeing a doctor because I’m not sure what to expect and I don’t want to have surgery. What are my other options?

Contrary to common belief, very few back pain patients go on to have surgery – in fact, only a small percent need to have an operation. Generally, a Texas Back Institute doctor will examine you and take your history. If serious problems such as tumor or infection, which are rare, are ruled out, most patients receive care in the form of medication, physical therapy, and education about activities to reduce and/or prevent back pain. For many patients, this course of treatment provides acceptable relief.

If significant back pain persists, the doctor may order an MRI scan or other diagnostic tests to help determine where the pain is coming from. Injections into different areas of the spine (epidural injections, facet joint blocks, nerve root blocks) may need to be performed. If you have significant leg pain, one or more epidural steroid injections may be done to reduce painful inflammation around nerves in your back that pass into your legs.

Surgery is generally not considered an option until after non-operative treatments have failed. Remember, the majority of spine surgery performed to treat pain is elective. That is, it is always your choice whether to have surgery, and only after you and your doctor have discussed options and potential risks.

Do you suggest participating in back research studies?

I feel like I’ve tried everything to relieve my back pain. Do you suggest participating in back research studies?

The first thing to do is contact your current spine doctor about any trials he or she might be conducting. Fortunately, there are many different research studies for the treatment of back pain and you just might be a candidate.

Secondly, our back research page provides information about candidates for individual studies and clinics where the research is performed. Call a center near you and ask about specific trials. If you are a match for the criteria, they will send you information about what treatments are involved, the potential benefits and risks, costs and what’s required to get started. For example, you will likely be asked to complete questionnaires, have x-rays or MRI scans, and other requirements. Be aware that many studies require you to complete questionnaires and have x-rays made for several follow up visits, including annual check-ups for two to five years.

I have a mild annoying pain in my neck. Is there anything I can do?

I have a mild, annoying pain in my neck that comes and goes with activities or sitting at my computer for long periods of time. Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening or getting worse?

Your problem with computer pain may be caused by many things. There are some simple things to try that may help. Check the arrangement of your desk. The screen should be at eye level. You should have the keyboard and mouse arranged so that you do not have to reach uncomfortably to use them. To prevent computer pain, it is a good idea to make it a point to get up from your desk occasionally and move around. Also, it is not good to lean your head far to one side to hold the phone between your head and shoulder. Seeing a physical therapist may be beneficial to get tips specifically for your lifestyle and for exercises that may strengthen weak muscles in your neck and shoulder areas.

How should I decide if spinal surgery is right for me?

It depends on your diagnosis. For some conditions, such as infections or fractures, surgery may be the only treatment option. For most other conditions, like herniated discs or sciatica, conservative care treatment, including medications and physical therapy, is the first treatment option. If physical therapy and medications do not work, patients may need a spinal injection.

At Texas Back Institute surgery is always a last resort. At each step along the way, we reevaluate the patient and the effects of the spine pain on function and lifestyle. Once the patient gets to an acceptable level of pain and function, we slow down and hopefully the patient continues to get better.

6020 W. Parker Road, Suite 200
Plano, TX
75093 United States
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