Back pain? Take it to Urgent Care

back pain convenient care
If you hurt your back — whether it’s too much fall gardening, playing or working — we’ve got new advice.

It’s always best to see a back specialist or your doctor right away. But if that’s not possible, don’t just go to the emergency room. Call Salem Health Urgent Care on the Salem Hospital campus for a same-day appointment or book it online. It’s likely faster and definitely less expensive than going to the ER. Location is 1002 Bellevue St. SE.

Urgent Care started a new treatment approach with expanded hours — and follow-up visits, so you can get everything you need for as long as your back problem persists, from diagnosis (like X-rays) to treatment (like prescriptions, exercises and education).

They also work closely with Salem Health’s Occupational Medicine clinic. They assess your injury and pain so that you’re only sent to the emergency room if your back problem is severe.  

The problem

In the past two years, 2,000 patients visited Salem Health Urgent Care or the occupational medicine department for back pain. Diagnosis and treatment varied at times, which resulted in inefficiencies, delays, repeat visits and higher costs.

Why we changed

Salem Health has a goal to continuously improve patient care. With our aging population and workplace hazards, back pain is on the rise. A team of employees and physicians who specialize in back pain tackled this problem through a program called the Physician Leadership Institute.

What we did

After researching what works best, the team created a “smart set” of common medical orders, patient education and other resources for back pain. We also increased emphasis on education and exercise so patients continue improving without the need for follow-up visits to their doctor, Urgent Care or emergency room.

So, what’s a smart set? Have you ever sat across from a nurse or doctor who seems a little preoccupied with typing at the computer or looking things up instead of talking to you? A smart set eliminates much of that, putting information right at their fingertips. (Yes, it’s smart.) In fact, they can do it all in about three clicks — which means they focus more on you.

We also narrowed treatments into the six most effective, and added correct medication doses for each in the smart set — all based on proven research. That vastly reduces second-guessing and mistakes.

No cookie cutter!

The smart set isn’t a cookie cutter, clinic manager Monica Ceja emphasized. “It actually gives clinicians more time to diagnose unusual cases, including when an MRI is needed, so the patient can get referred to the emergency room,” she said. “We’re not limited to the smart set options, even though they make up the majority of the cases we treat.”

Advice worth repeating

Hurt your back? Don’t wait! Call Urgent Care at 503-561-5554 for a same-day appointment. Or book online here. It’s also less expensive than the ER. And you can return for follow-up care. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends.