We are taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously. The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. While our office remains open, we now offer telemedicine appointments to limit in-office exposure. Please call to schedule an appointment or with questions.
We have the expertise and technology to make the most accurate diagnosis, and are commited to being there with you every step of the way. Whether you already know what is ailing you, or are looking for answers, trust us to get you on the right path.
Whether you already have a diagnosis or are looking for the cause of your pain, we are here to listen, provide support and work with you throughout your care. Explore some of our commonly treated conditions below.
Arthritis of the spine
Disc degeneration is a breakdown of the padding cartilage between vertebrae. This can precipitate further conditions such as facet arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and herniated discs. Degeneration can cause pain which begins in the spine, and can radiate into the arms and legs.
Disc degeneration is usually successfully treated non-surgically with a combination of appropriate medications, physical therapy, exercises and injections. Occasionally patients require surgical correction. Our team is ready to walk you through your specific treatment plan, and get you back to doing what you enjoy.
A protrusion of the disc between vertebrae
A herniated disc occurs due to damage to the cartilage discs between vertebrae. These discs typically function as cushions between the bones of the spine, and when one of them is damaged or worn down it can cause the disc material to extend out of its normal position. When the herniation contacts a nerve, it can lead to pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. Causes of a herniated disc vary from trauma to aging or lifestyle. There are often no symptoms until the disc begins exerting pressure on nerves.
For disc herniations it is very important to accurately diagnose the cause of the pain. Many herniations do not cause symptoms and the pain is caused by other sources. For herniations that are painful, most are successfully treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, and injections. If there is severe nerve compression and the symptoms don’t improve, then surgery may be needed to remove a portion of the disc.
Radiating pain from the spine into the legs
When the nerves that pass through the spine become irritated, it causes pain to extend down the leg where the nerve travels. This can be caused by nerve compression and inflammation.
Depending on the cause, most cases of sciatica can be successfully treated with a combination of medications, exercises, physical therapy, and injections. In some cases, surgery is required to correct the cause.
A sideways curvature of the spine
Scoliosis is an abnormality where the spine becomes curved, and in some cases rotated. There are a variety of causes, including congenital, arthritis, and in some cases there is no known cause. Scoliosis is typically diagnosed through both a physical exam and X-ray or MRI imaging. During your exam, the doctor will take a detailed medical history and asses any side-to-side differences of the spine or rib cage in various positions.
Many forms of mild scoliosis can be treated with physical therapy. More severe cases can be treated through braces or surgical correction. Bracing is helpful for preventing further curvature, typically in adolescence while bones are still growing. Surgical correction may be required to correct the curve and fuse the vertebrae to relieve pain and prevent further curvature.
A forward rounding of the spine
Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the back which often occurs after weakening and compression of spinal bones. Kyphosis often causes back pain and stiffness as well as a forward hunch, but mild cases may not have any symptoms. Common causes include osteoporosis, disk degeneration, Scheuermanns disease and birth defects, among others.
In most cases, pain can be controlled with a combination of exercises, Physical Therapy and medication. In some cases, surgery is required to physically correct the curve and balance the spine.
A forward slipping vertebrae
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forwards over the vertebra below. It is a common cause of low back pain and sciatica. It can develop early in adolescence, develop as a cause of arthritis and aging, or be caused by a single or repeated force, such as a fall or a weightlifting accident. Symptoms include pain in the low back, and in more severe cases pain or weakness in the legs. In some cases, there may be no symptoms when Spondylolisthesis first develops. Diagnosis is usually confirmed through an X-ray of the spine, where slippage is typically obvious.
Many cases of Spondylolisthesis can be treated non-surgically. When there is pain in the back or legs, it can usually be treated through medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, or heat/ice application. In most cases these treatments will be successful, and the underlying Spondylolisthesis will cause no further trouble. In cases where non-surgical treatments are not enough, Spinal Fusion is usually very effective to alleviate the pain caused by spondylolisthesis.
Cancer in the spine
Cancer cells commonly spread to bone, and the most common place that cancer spreads is to the spine. Tumors can weaken bones to the point of fracture, and compress nerve endings causing pain, weakness, or even paralysis. Symptoms of Metastatic Spine Tumors include aching in the bones of the spine, pain down the legs or arms, or a sudden and severe pain while moving (caused by a fracture). Diagnosis is performed through X-Ray, MRI, and/or CT scans, depending on which imaging type gives the best visibility for you specific tumor.
Treatment of Metastatic Spine Tumors involves a combination of managing the pain, shrinking or removing the tumor cells, and stabilizing the spine when needed. Pain management is accomplished with medication and occasionally back bracing, while radiation therapy, hormonal medication and surgical removal can all be used to treat the tumor itself.
A protrusion of the disc between neck vertebrae
Cervical disc protrusion is similar to disc herniations in the lower back but occur in the neck. In some cases there in no nerve compression and very little pain. Often the bulging disc will impinge or press on nearby nerves or spinal cord resulting in pain and numbness in the neck, shoulder, arms, and shoulder blades. In some severe cases it can also cause paralysis or symptoms in the legs.
In patients that do not have nerve compression, most of the time non operative treatments such as physical therapy, medications and exercises will successfully alleviate the pain. In severe cases, surgery may be required to physically remove the pressure on the nerve. This can usually be accomplished minimally invasively or with a disc replacement.
Narrowing of the spinal canal around nerves
The narrowing of the spinal canal, called spinal stenosis, can occur in essentially all parts of the spine –although most commonly in the neck and lower back. Spinal stenosis is usually the result of osteoarthritis, which causes an overgrowth of inflammed tissue, and pinching or compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots. Compression of nerves commonly causes pain, weakness or numbness below where the compression is occurring.
Exercise as directed by a physical therapist can help to maintain or regain strength. Medications to manage pain and inflammation have also been shown to be helpful. Steroid injections into the affected area can reduce inflammation and provide relief over the short and long term. Surgery to remove a portion of the bone and relieve nerve pressure is the definitive treatment for symptoms that do not resolve with more conservative care.
Non-improvement after previous surgery
Even though most patients obtain relief of their symptoms after modern spine surgery, there are some situations when patients still have ongoing pain. This may occur for a variety of reasons including a new disc herniation, failure of a fusion to heal, nerve damage, or a new problem in a different area of the spine. Patients who have had previous surgery are more challenging to evaluate and treat and require assessment by a spine specialist.
These situations require a thorough evaluation by an experienced specialist to determine the cause. Some cases can be treated simply with appropriate rehabilitation or injections. Other patients may require another surgery to correct the cause. In all cases of failed spine surgery, the first step is to determine the source of the pain.
These conditions are only a small sample of what we treat. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, it doesn’t mean we don’t treat it. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.