Back & Neck Pain

Advanced care for a faster recovery.

Novant Health provides comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical treatment for neck, back and spine pain at our award-winning, nationally recognized facilities.

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Why Choose Novant Health

Novant Health is consistently recognized for delivering the highest quality care, with remarkable patient outcomes for neck and back pain conditions. Our Presbyterian Medical Center is a 5-Star Recipient for Back Surgery in 2022. And the New Hanover Regional Medical Center received America's 100 Best Hospitals for Spine Surgery Award™ two years in a row.


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As a spine patient at Novant Health, you will have have access to patient navigators. These specialists are dedicated to working one-on-one with you. They'll help guide you through your healthcare journey — from diagnosis to treatment to recovery — to get you back to your life as soon as possible.

Your patient navigator will:

  • Expedite your care
  • Explain your diagnosis and treatment options
  • Answers any questions throughout your treatment
  • Connect you with community resources


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Get the spinal care you need, including some outpatient procedures, closer to home at a Novant Health Brain & Spine Surgery clinic. We’ve located them in neighborhoods throughout the region, because the last thing you need when you have back and neck pain is a long car ride.

Dr. Mattoli examining a patients neck and spine.

Neck and Back Pain Services

Novant Health offers a comprehensive range of nonsurgical, less invasive and traditional surgical options to relieve your chronic back pain or neck injury. Our physicians and physical therapists collaborate at our medical centers and outpatient clinics in your community. These specialized care teams provide a broad spectrum of therapeutic treatment options to alleviate your neck, back and spine pain and increase your mobility.

Provider giving a patient a neck exam

Personalized Care Plans

Your care team will partner with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle. Our treatment facilities feature the most advanced diagnostic imaging services and technology. Whether you have chronic lower back pain, discomfort in your neck or spine pain, our team can help get you moving again with less or no pain.

Pain Management Services

Treatment options available through our pain management program include:

  • Implantable pain pumps
  • Steroid and other injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency heat
  • Spinal cord stimulation

Learn About Pain Management

Back and Neck Pain Treatment

Provider giving a patient a lower back exam

Nonsurgical Treatment Options

We use nonsurgical procedures over surgery whenever possible. Various nonsurgical options may be appropriate for your specific condition and preferences, including:

  • Activity modification
  • Assistive devices, such as mechanical back supports
  • Medication, including anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants
  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Personalized pain prevention program
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Smoking cessation
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Diet and weight loss management

Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

Many back, neck and spine pain surgeries can be performed  by inserting a robotically controlled fiber optic-equipped instrument called a laparoscope through small incisions in your body. The surgeon guides the laparoscope from a robotic console that includes a high-definition, 3D view of the surgical site. The technology can be used, for instance, to perform radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which uses radio waves to destroy nerve fibers that send pain signals to your brain.

Minimally invasive surgical procedures to relieve spine, neck and back pain provide significant benefits, such as:

  • Smaller incisions for less scarring
  • Less bleeding
  • Less trauma to surround muscle and tissue
  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • Faster recovery times

Your care team will evaluate your case to determine if a minimally invasive procedure is right for you. 

Traditional Surgical Options

When open surgery is the best option, our board-certified surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other specialists can provide it using some of the most advanced technology in some of the safest hospitals in the country. Procedures we perform include:

  • Artificial disc implantation — the replacement of damaged discs
  • Discectomy — the removal of intervertebral discs
  • External lumbar fusion —bone is fused to connect two spinal vertebrae
  • Laminectomy — removal of vertebrae to relieve nerve pressure
  • Microdiscectomy — relieves herniated disc pain
  • Pain pump insertion — delivers medication to your spinal cord
  • Spinal cord stimulation — low levels of electricity relieve spinal cord pain
  • Spinal fusion — connects vertebrae for stability or corrective reasons

What Causes Neck and Back Pain?

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What Causes Neck and Back Pain?

Back and neck pain develops in various ways. Some conditions are acute, meaning a specific incident caused the pain, such as:

  • Ligament or muscle tears
  • Sprains or strains
  • Trauma, including an injury or fracture

Other conditions are chronic, where the issue worsens over time. Examples include:

  • Abnormal growths or tumors
  • Aging of the muscles and ligaments that support your spine
  • Conditions such as osteoarthritis, spondylitis or compression fractures
  • Infection
  • Joint problems
  • Muscle tension or spasms
  • Obesity that puts pressure on the spine and discs
  • Overuse, strenuous activity or improper use like repetitive or heavy lifting or prolonged exposure to vibrations
  • Poor muscle tone in your back
  • Protruding or herniated (slipped) discs
  • Smoking

Diagnosing Neck and Back Pain

Besides considering your overall health, medical history and current condition, our experts have access to advanced diagnostic imaging tools, including:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan — provides a clear view of bones, muscles, fat and organs
  • Electromyogram (EMG) — evaluates nerve and muscle functioning
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — produces detailed images of organs and structures in your body
  • Radionuclide bone scan — shows blood flow to your bones and cell activity within the bones
  • X-rays — produce images of your bones

Preventing Neck and Back Pain

The best way to ensure excellent neck, back and spine health is to avoid activities and lifestyle habits that lead to chronic pain. Steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury, or a chronic condition include:

  • Quitting smoking, which has been shown to raise the risk of debilitating back pain.
  • Exercising regularly, with proper stretching
  • Maintaining correct posture while sitting, standing and sleeping
  • Managing your weight and a healthy diet
  • Practicing correct lifting techniques
  • Reducing emotional stressors

Neurologist vs. Orthopedist

Your primary care provider will determine whether to refer you to a neurologist or an orthopedist. The main difference is the areas they treat.

A neurologist concentrates on your nervous system, including your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Orthopedists focus on your musculoskeletal system, such as bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues.  They also can perform surgical procedures.

Your provider may also recommend diagnostic tests or imaging to determine the cause of your neck and back pain. Depending on your symptoms, other testing may be necessary. For example, your physician may prescribe medications or therapy if you have headaches and migraines.