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Published on May 08, 2019

a road with pins

Back or neck pain? We'll walk the path with you.

Anna Batterson, DO

Chronic back and neck pain is beyond bothersome. About 80 percent of all adults will experience back and neck pain severe enough to keep them from at least a week of routine activities.

"Pain can interfere with work, hobbies, sleep, fitness, and mood," says Anna Batterson, DO, Gundersen Health System Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. "There are likely treatments patients have not tried. It's important to consider multiple approaches to determine what might be best for their pain."

Gundersen providers support you with compassion and expertise as you try different pain treatment options.

For more information, call (608) 775-9000 or visit

Options for back and neck pain

Primary Care Provider: This is a great first step, especially for a new injury or new pain. After a medical history review and exam, your primary care provider can help identify a treatment plan and your options.

Self-Care Tools: You're in control! Try Gundersen's free, online self-care risk assessments and planners.

Diet & Exercise: "This is very important for long-standing spine health," Dr. Batterson says. "The more weight you carry, the more stress you put on your spine. Your primary care provider can work with you on this."

Physical Therapy: "This is highly beneficial for chronic pain," Dr. Batterson shares. "Physical therapy can offer in-office services and also work with patients to find the best exercises to provide pain relief."

Chiropractic Care: This can be a key, non-surgical step if you have new pain or chronic pain. Gundersen chiropractors can help you manage back and neck pain through manual manipulation techniques and other therapies.

Medication: Over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen and Tylenol, are a good first step. There are also many over-the-counter creams and patches you might find helpful. Your primary care provider can help sort through these options, which might include prescription medications for muscle relaxants or nerve pain medications.

Integrative Medicine: You might find acupuncture, massage therapy and essential oils provide relief, especially if you have a condition like fibromyalgia. These options are safe, and patients often report great benefits, especially when used in combination with other treatments.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R): Gundersen PM&R specialists can help you identify non-invasive techniques or pain-relieving injections to increase movement. They can also offer a referral to physical therapy intervention and assist with medication management.

Dig DEEP (Diet and Exercise to Ease Pain) This aims to decrease chronic pain and increase function in overweight and obese adults. Using a multidisciplinary clinic and a group exercise and coaching class, the program meets at the Gundersen-La Crosse Area Family YMCA Healthy Living Center at the Dahl Family Y in La Crosse.

Pain Medicine: Gundersen Pain Medicine specialists can help you find relief with injections. Other options include nerve burning procedures (radiofrequency ablation), medication management review and adjustment, and, in some cases, a spinal cord stimulator that helps block pain.

Pain Neuropsychology: Gundersen neuropsychologists can provide strategies to control pain, reduce stress and improve your health.

Neurosurgery: "Patients who benefit most from surgery have exhausted their non-surgical options and have significant nerve symptoms," Dr. Batterson says. Gundersen neurosurgeons will offer surgery when appropriate.

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