Spinal Conditions and Treatment

Back pain affects millions of people and is one of the top reasons cited for doctor visits each year. Whether you are affected by conditions such as lower back pain or problems that may require major surgery and physical therapy, All-Star Orthopaedics can help. We focus on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the spine, back, and neck. Headed by renowned spine surgeon Stephen J. Timon, MD, our spinal center consists of a team of physicians, physical therapists, and rehabilitation experts dedicated to helping you reduce pain, restore function and mobility, and start living the active lifestyle to which you are accustomed.

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What Are Common Spinal Conditions?

Conditions affecting the spine are typically caused by disease or injury. Our team is committed to finding the source of your pain to determine the most effective treatment for improving the issue with long-term success. For details about some of the most common spinal conditions treated at our spinal center, read through the sections below.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is an extremely common condition which can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, strain, protruding discs, osteoporosis, and even just the effects of age. The condition, while highly uncomfortable in some cases, can often be eased by practicing regular exercise or physical therapy, maintaining good posture, staying at a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, and other lifestyle changes. More serious or chronic back pain typically warrants the help of a professional, such as Dr. Timon, who can evaluate your symptoms and health history to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Cervical Fracture

The technical term for a broken neck, a cervical fracture can not only cause significant pain, but can be dangerous, leading to paralysis, and even be fatal. Typically, the level of treatment is determined by the severity of the fracture; however, some cases can be treated with a cervical brace worn until the bone heals. Traction, surgery and internal fixation, a rigid cast, or a combination of these may be necessary for more severe cases.


Although whiplash may seem like a minor concern, it can lead to the development of chronic issues and even disability when left untreated. Whiplash is often caused by car accidents or similar incidents, and can manifest as stiffness or pain in the neck, dizziness, shoulder pain, headaches, memory issues, and several other signs. Common treatments for mild to moderate whiplash include physical therapy, pain relievers, and the use of heat and ice, whereas more severe or chronic whiplash may require surgery.

Pinched Nerve

Known medically as “cervical radiculopathy,” a pinched nerve in the neck is often the result of a vertebrae or cervical vertebra injury near the nerve root, which can result from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or other internal issues. The condition may manifest not only as neck pain or numbness, but sometimes as weakness or numbness in the arms or hands. A pinched nerve in the neck is usually first addressed with physical therapy and sometimes pain medication, but if therapy does not work after around 12 weeks, surgery may be necessary to restore function and reduce pain.

Problems with Neck Discs

The cervical discs in the neck are responsible for much of our movement, making them a highly valuable part of the body. Unfortunately, they are also very vulnerable, and damage or disease affecting this area can cause a myriad of problems in the neck and elsewhere. For instance, injury, cervical spondylosis (neck arthritis), and narrowing of the spinal canal can all cause significant pain that requires orthopedic care. More severe symptoms may require surgery, while mild to moderate damage can sometimes be treated with rest and/or medication.

Fracture of the Thoracic & Lumbar Spine

The term “herniated disc” usually refers to a rupture of one of the soft discs located between the vertebrae. These discs are an important part of the vertebrae, as they aid in the movement of the back; as such, herniation of these discs can be a highly uncomfortable and serious concern. In addition to injury as a result of lifting heavy objects or strenuous activity, herniated discs can be caused by smoking or obesity. The condition can initially manifest as soreness, weakness, or numbness, but can lead to much more severe symptoms, such as bowel or bladder incontinence, when left untreated. While more mild cases can sometimes be addressed with rest, heat, cold compresses, or anti-inflammatory medications, more severe cases may warrant physical therapy, epidural injections, or surgery.

Kyphosis (Curvature of the Spine)

Kyphosis is characterized by abnormal curvature of the spine, which can cause chronic pain and problems with posture. The condition exists in several different forms – most commonly postural, Scheuermann’s, or congenital kyphosis – all of which can present significant discomfort and result in deformity when untreated. Kyphosis can be the result of osteoporosis or metabolic concerns, and genetics often play a role in the development of postural or Scheuermann’s kyphosis (whereas congenital kyphosis is thought to be caused by a birth defect). Postural kyphosis is considered the most manageable stage and can be eased with physical therapy, while Scheuermann’s kyphosis is characterized as somewhat more severe and may require the use of a brace. Surgery is typically only necessary in extreme cases.

Neck Sprain

Most often caused by trauma or injury, a neck sprain is characterized by stretched or torn ligaments in the neck. Common symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, arm numbness, and difficulty moving. Anti-inflammatories or ice packs can be used initially to reduce pain and swelling, and a soft cervical collar may eventually be necessary to facilitate healing. Less prominent sprains may heal on their own, but we nevertheless advise you to consult All-Star Orthopaedics if you believe you have a neck sprain in order to lower your chances of serious complications.

Sciatica (Pain Radiating from the Back Down to the Buttocks and Leg)

Sciatica is caused by a protruding disc in the lower spine that presses against the sciatic nerve. The condition, most commonly found in patients between 30 and 50 years old, can range considerably in severity, with some cases presenting as mild soreness and weakness and others as incapacitating leg pain and bladder or bowel incontinence. Epidural injections, pain medication, and physical therapy can be helpful for sciatica depending on the prevalence of the symptoms, and surgery is seldom needed (though it can be helpful in emergency cases, such as when numbness is experienced in the groin area).

Orthopaedic Surgeon vs. Neurosurgeon for Spinal Surgery

Both orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons receive training in spinal surgery and can specialize in spine conditions. The main difference between the two is the focus of their training. Neurosurgeons, for example, specialize in the nervous system, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions. Orthopaedic surgeons are focused on musculoskeletal conditions and can further specialize in treating the neck, back, and spine. They are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions, while also following patients through the rehabilitation process. Both orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can be well-qualified to diagnose and treat spinal conditions, which is why you should ultimately look at each surgeon’s credentials to determine which may be more qualified for your surgery.

What Can I Expect After Spinal Surgery?

Spinal surgery is typically the final method of treating many conditions. Recovery will depend on the extent of the condition as well as the type of surgery. In addition, everyone heals and recovers at their own rate. If inpatient surgery proves necessary, patients can typically return home within a few days. Pain medication may be needed to help minimize your discomfort, and physical therapy is often recommended to help restore proper function. More personalized details about your recovery will be discussed with you prior to surgery to help you plan accordingly. 

How Much Does Spinal Surgery Cost?

The cost of treating a spinal condition will be unique to the individual and the specifics of their treatment plan. Our surgeons always recommend the most conservative treatments that can still provide optimal results. If these methods do not improve the condition, a more invasive option like surgery may be necessary, which can ultimately cost more. To help you understand what you can expect to pay, our team can explain the fees associated with your potential treatment options, and whether you are eligible for coverage from your insurance provider. If you would like to divide your total cost into smaller, more manageable payments, we can also help you get started with orthopaedic surgery financing.

Please contact All-Star Orthopaedics or visit spineuniverse.com for more information on spinal conditions and treatments.