Carey Vincent, RN, is the Spine Patient Navigator at the Inova Neuroscience and Spine Institute.
Back pain doesn’t just hurt – it makes daily life harder in many ways. It can also be hard to figure out the best way to deal with pain in your neck or back. Do you need a physical therapist? Should you see a surgeon? Where do you start?
The Inova Spine Program can help answer those questions. As a patient navigator, it’s my job to streamline your treatment journey.
Starting Your Treatment
Our program starts with a phone call to our spine intake specialist. The specialist will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history, and then connect you with the appropriate doctor to start your treatment journey.
At that point, you’ll hear from a navigator like me who can help in a number of ways:
- Figuring out where to go for various tests and procedures, such as X-rays, MRIs or physical therapy
- Explaining the purpose and process of each test and procedure
- Making sure you have the right tests and lab work completed before your appointment
- Providing pre-op education so you know what to expect before surgery
- Answering follow-up questions after your appointment or operation
- Answering questions about medication and pain management
- Spotting red flags such as increased pain, numbness in the legs, incontinence and other problems that might indicate you need to see a doctor sooner
Inova’s spine treatment program is the leading program in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, metro area. We have the most back pain specialists in the region, spread across our five hospitals.
While that’s an asset, it can sometimes be hard to navigate such a big system. And if you’re managing back pain, you’re probably juggling a lot of specialists including physical therapists, rehabilitation specialists, surgeons and other physicians. Patient navigators are here to take any guesswork out of the process, and coordinate care from all members of your spine care team.
We communicate with most of our patients by phone or email, so we can answer questions quickly and easily. We also have close relationships with Spine Program physicians, and can often help track them down, even when they’re not at their desks.
If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. To speak to a spine care intake specialist, call 703-776-4700 or learn more about the Inova Spine Program.