We’ve Got Your Back



For years Cynthia Sunde of Moorhead, Minn., struggled with lower-back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Treatment was often lengthy and drawn out, including several appointments, tests and eventually out-of-town spine surgery.

So in late 2012 when she suffered neck and upper-back pain, she dreaded the long, cumbersome process ahead, until she discovered Sanford Brain & Spine Center in Fargo.

“It was totally different from what I expected,” says Cynthia. “They promptly returned calls and set up all the appointments. They’re available for questions and make sure you have exactly what you need. Everything has gone so smoothly.”

Streamlined care

Founded in 2012, the Brain & Spine Center efficiently connects patients to the correct care.

“Our patients start moving forward as soon as possible,” says Daryl Sieg, PA-C, Brain & Spine Center coordinator. “We want to decrease pain, increase function and help them get back to a normal life, including work. In the past it might have taken months just to get an appointment with a spine provider. We knew we could do better.”

The Brain & Spine Center’s innovative approach begins with the patient’s primary-care provider. For Cynthia, that’s Joanna Hoffmann-Carrol, PA-C, Sanford Moorhead Clinic.

Joanna assessed Cynthia’s problem, ordered the necessary imaging tests and made a referral to the Spine Center.

Rapid start to focused treatment

Sanford Brain & Spine Center received the referral on Nov. 28. By the afternoon of Nov. 29, a Sanford spine expert had already reviewed Cynthia’s medical records and imaging studies. This started a focused treatment plan that began promptly.

Cynthia’s step-by-step treatment included physical therapy, home traction to relieve arm pain, and nerve-block injections administered at Sanford Pain Management.

Along with prompt treatment, Cynthia appreciated the patient-first approach. “It’s a relief not to worry about callbacks and making appointments,” she says. “That in itself is helpful in dealing with back issues.”

Out-of-town patients can also experience well-coordinated care. Daryl explains: “As a specialty center, we draw from a large geographic area. We build itineraries that work for patients, and we try to avoid multiple trips.”

Impressive results!

By the time Cynthia met with Daryl at the Brain & Spine Center a month later, her treatment was well under way and she’d already made significant improvement.

“That’s not unusual,” says Daryl. “The majority of patients we see get better without surgery. And if surgery is ultimately needed, it’ll take just one appointment with the surgeon to schedule the surgery rather than two or three to figure out if surgery is needed. That’s better for everyone.”

The Brain & Spine Center offers several avenues of treatment, depending on patients’ needs. The multidisciplinary team includes Neurosurgery, Radiology, Physical Therapy, Pain Management, Chiropractic, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and others. The team works together to help patients achieve best possible results.

No worries

Cynthia knows her degenerative disc disease will likely continue, and at some point she may need surgery.

“But I’m not as scared as I used to be,” she says. “I feel really good knowing there’s a place like the Spine Center where people truly want to help you. I’d feel comfortable having my surgery here, too.”

For Cynthia, today’s reduced back pain means a better quality of life. She’s able to work, enjoy family and pursue passions including cooking, interior decorating and lake time.

If back pain interferes with your life, take a new step. Talk to your primary care doctor and get connected with Sanford Brain & Spine Center.

Posted Date: May 2013

We’ve Got Your Back

When Cynthia Sunde experienced back pain late last year, she didn’t have to wait long to get help. Sanford Brain & Spine Center efficiently connects patients to the correct care.