Who Do I See for Neck or Back Problems?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, 6:09 pm

K. Brandon Strenge, MD

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

The Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky

Who Do I See for Neck or Back Problems?

Spinal problems are among the most common issues affecting quality of life in today’s society.  Most people will suffer from neck pain, back pain, or symptoms of pinched nerves in either the arms or legs at some point in their lives.  Fortunately, the vast majority of neck and back issues improve with non-surgical methods including anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and activity modification.  For those who do not have adequate relief of their neck or back trouble with conservative methods, an Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon may be able to help alleviate pain with surgery.

An Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon is a physician that has completed a 5 year residency in Orthopaedic Surgery involving the treatment of all musculoskeletal conditions, followed by an extra year of training called a fellowship, focusing exclusively on conditions involving the spine.  Fellowship trained Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons are highly skilled in the most advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques for treating neck and back problems, and are the only physicians who dedicate their entire practice to spinal conditions.

Patients with neck or back trouble should seek out a physician that focuses on ensuring that all non-surgical options have been considered before even discussing surgery as a treatment.  In most cases, a comprehensive non-surgical treatment plan can relieve pain and surgery can be avoided.

If surgery does become necessary, it is important to find someone who specializes in the latest, most minimally invasive surgical techniques for treating your specific problem, whether it involves neck pain, back pain, degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, or pinched nerves.  It’s important to ask your surgeon how many spinal procedures they do each year and how much of their practice is focused on surgery specific to your condition.  All types of spine surgery have a steep learning curve, and as you would expect, surgeons with the most experience with particular surgeries will have the best results.

There have been astounding improvements in the field of Orthopaedic Spine Surgery over just the last few years that have made spinal surgery easier and faster to recover from and much more successful in alleviating pain.  Not all spine surgeons are properly trained in the newest, cutting edge procedures however, so it’s important to seek out an Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon that is experienced and has proven results with evolving minimally invasive techniques.


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