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No More Aching Back!

The Iowa Clinic Spine Center brings together multiple medical specialties to provide accurate diagnosis, treatment, and best of all… relief.


Back pain affects eight out of 10 people at some time in their lives. Unfortunately, many backache sufferers don't get the help they need simply because they don't have ready access to the right specialist at the right time. The Iowa Clinic Spine Center is changing that. “We have assembled a multidisciplinary team of boardcertified physicians, surgeons, and healthcare providers in a single center,” says John Piper, M.D., a Neurosurgeon with The Iowa Clinic Spine Center. “By giving patients quick access to multiple specialists, we are able to help them realize the best possible outcomes.”

Among the many different problems that can affect the spine, Dr. Piper says the most common are disc herniations or degenerative disc diseases. However, the Spine Center is also equipped to handle more complex issues, including infections, traumatic injuries, and tumors. “Many of these conditions are not effectively treated with surgery, so patients need to have nonsurgical options readily available to them,” he says. “Only in this way can we streamline the elevation and management of spinal care.”

Getting Patients to the Right Solution-FAST!

No one should endure back pain any longer than they have to. Unfortunately, however, patients with back pain are often so desperate to find relief that they'll do almost anything. Piper acknowledges that many times he'll see a patient who's convinced that only a certain type of intervention will provide relief. “But often that's not really the best long-term solution,” he says. “There are companies peddling many different approaches to resolving back pain. Some are very legitimate and very good. But some have not been thoroughly or rigorously investigated, and others haven't had good results over the long term,” he says. “Our goal is to deliver the treatments that will give patients the best results for the longest period of time.”

Every healthcare provider that's part of The Iowa Clinic Spine Center can refer patients to other specialists on the team, and the patient will be seen quickly. Specialists include:

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)—Also called physiatry, PM&R focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of disorders, especially related to the nerves, muscles, bone, and brain.

Pain Management—This interdisciplinary approach for reducing pain and improving quality of life has made huge advances in recent years, providing partial or complete pain relief for patients with chronic back pain.

Surgery—When surgery is indicated, options range from minimally invasive procedures (such as for herniated disc) to more extensive procedures (for conditions such as misaligned vertebrae and degenerative disc disease).

“If all you have is one treatment option, you're going to have many patients you won't be able to help. But the Spine Center has many options and many physicians, which allows us to guide our patients in the direction that will provide the best results,” 

-Dr. John Piper, Neurosurgeon at The Iowa Clinic Spine Center

Diagnostic Testing

Most often, specialists at The Iowa Clinic Spine Center are able to diagnose common conditions of the spine simply by assessing a patient's reflexes as well as the ability to sit, stand, walk, and raise the legs. When they suspect a specific condition, they may order additional tests:

  • Radiology Tests (MRI, CT scan, X-Ray, Myelogram, and/ or PET scan), which generate images that show herniated disks or problems with the bones, muscles, tissues, tendons, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels.
  • Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Tests measure the nerves' electrical impulses and responses of muscles, which can indicate compressed nerves. These are commonly caused by herniated disks or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
  • Discogram, which involves injecting a dye or contrast material into the discs of the spine, after which an X-Ray is taken to identify any tears, fissures, or other disc damage.

The Right Treatment

Because The Iowa Clinic employs a multi-specialty approach to spine care, it's fully equipped to provide the right treatment for any spine patient's diagnosis. Check out our treatment options at The Iowa Clinic Spine Center.

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