Treatment of spinal disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach involving UVa’s neurosurgeons, as well as the patient’s physician and physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and pain management specialists. This collaborative approach sometimes means that surgery can be avoided. However, if pain persists despite extensive non-surgical treatment – or if surgery is the most appropriate first option – our nationally recognized spine surgeons are well-versed in all current techniques and are aided by a top-flight nursing staff.Most patients with spine disease will go through three phases of care: presentation, diagnosis and treatment. Patients typically present to their family physician with back or neck pain which may radiate into the leg or arm. Depending on a patient’s condition, the symptoms may be treated first by their primary care doctor, commonly with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. At other times an imaging study is necessary to make a diagnosis, after which the most appropriate treatment can be determined. The majority of spinal afflictions can be treated with a combination of medicine, physical therapy and other remedies such as chiropractic manipulation or exercise.
When pain persists despite these treatments, a referral for surgery may be appropriate. In determining whether surgery is necessary, our doctors take many factors into consideration including imaging studies, a physical exam and the patient’s desire for pain relief. The decision to proceed with surgery is a collaborative process between the patient, the referring physician and UVa’s neurosurgery team, made after a thorough discussion of the risks, benefits and probable outcomes.
Our team takes as much time as necessary to go over any questions or concerns, as well as to discuss in detail the patient’s condition. Physicians from UVa will also continue to work with the patient and the referring physician after surgery to shorten the recovery period with the goal of resuming normal activity as soon as possible.
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