Carle Spine Institute | 610 North Lincoln Ave. Urbana, Illinois 61801 | Medical Advice Nurse 217-383-6555

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    Home >> About Us >> A Center of Excellence

Carle Spine Institute - A Center of Excellence

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What is a Center of Excellence?

Centers of Excellence make use of clinical protocols and specialists who dedicate themselves to understanding the most advanced treatment methods for a particular problem. Centers of Excellence house spine surgeons, as well as physiatrists, who excel in helping back pain sufferers return to activity without surgery. Typically, the most advanced spine centers in the United States hire PM&R physicians (physiatrists) as experts in nonsurgical treatment of spine problems. Their training focuses on understanding how posture, walking, standing and sitting affect the spine. PM&Rs are the nation's top experts in curing back and neck strain—without surgery.

What is specialized therapy?

Back and neck pain sufferers shouldn't have to travel all over town to see various doctors. A Center of Excellence provides all the specialists and diagnostic technology that is necessary to treat patients.

Unlike a physical therapy clinic that divides its time and expertise among multiple focuses, Carle Spine Institute has on-site therapists that specialize in spine. These therapists attend advanced educational programs to stay up-to-date on the most advanced back treatments.

Research has shown that complex problems like back pain are treated more successfully with a multidisciplinary approach that involves the best tried-and-true approaches of many back specialists. The strength of Carle Spine Institute lies in the medical expertise brought in by a variety of specialists who complement each other, including experts in physical medicine, orthopedic surgery and physical therapy.

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What are protocols?

Through the use of written clinical protocols, physicians take a uniform approach to managing injured backs. This ensures that patients do not receive unnecessary recommendations for surgery. For example, if a patient sees multiple doctors at a center that does not use written protocols, they may be given different diagnoses and treatment recommendations from different doctors.

A very common problem in the field of spine occurs when a back patient visits several different physicians and gets many different "diagnoses" and recommended treatments. Some patients undergo X-rays, myelograms and discograms when they don't need them.

Carle Spine Institute’s written protocols ensure quality in healthcare, because they prevent a physician from just "winging it." Our protocols also eliminate diagnostic tests and uncomfortable procedures when they are not necessary. This not only saves the patient from unnecessary pain and discomfort but also from unnecessary payments.

Clinical protocols act as guidelines to ensure that the right thing is done at the right time, every time. It ensures that physicians are practicing the best kind of medicine at every step along the way.


Carle Spine Institute also measures clinical outcomes by tracking the status of a patient during their first visit and comparing it to their functional status post-treatment. Patient satisfaction is measured to ensure minimal waiting time, a sufficient amount of time with the doctor, and optimal treatment for the patient.

Physical Therapy

Carle Spine Institute uses licensed physical therapists and PT assistants. Our program emphasizes rapid progression to functional activities, starting with symptom control all the way through the strengthening and conditioning phases. The wide range of equipment in our PT treatment area meets the needs of patients at all levels of functioning. Early physical therapy is provided at the Spine Institute at Carle Clinic, with more comprehensive physical therapy located at the North Annex. Click here for more information about physical therapy.

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Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Physician Group contract with insurance providers separately and may or may not choose to participate in all of the same insurance plans. Patients are urged to check with their carriers as to whether services are covered for either or both organizations. Copyright 2010 The Carle Foundation