Spine Specialists in Watertown, NY
Anatomy of the Spine
The structure of the spine is designed to protect the spinal cord from external damage and infection while being flexible enough to move in almost any direction you choose. The adult spine stretches from the base of the skull to the tailbone, or coccyx, containing 24 separate vertebrae with cartilage between each one. A child’s spine has 33 vertebrae and no coccyx. That forms later in adolescence. The spine is surrounded by muscles, connective tissues, and nerves.
When movement of the spine becomes rigid and painful, that is a clear sign that something is wrong. It might just be a pulled muscle, but it could also be a pinched nerve or degenerative disc disease. It takes advanced skill and extensive training to be able to diagnose spine conditions, because they often cause radiating pain throughout the limbs that can disguise the true cause. Common spine conditions include:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Entrapment Neuropathy
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Herniated Discs
- Low Back Pain
- Myelopathy (Spinal Cord Compression)
- Neck Pain
- Pinched Nerves
- Radiculopathy (Nerve Compression)
- Spinal Stenosis
Treatment – Surgical and Non-Surgical
Many spine conditions respond well to non-surgical treatments such as rest, medication, and exercises to strengthen muscles that help support the spine. Some conditions also respond well to therapeutic injections aimed at reducing nerve inflammation, a frequent cause of back and neck pain, as well as pain radiating down one or more extremities. Sometimes though, a spine problem is severe enough that surgery might be the answer. In this event, you want a skilled surgeon with advanced training in the latest spine surgery techniques. Whether its conservative care or surgery you need, NCOG’s spine team can help. Our spine specialists and therapists treat a range of routine and complex spine conditions using the latest treatment methods and surgical techniques, including:
- Physical Therapy
- Epidural, Facet, and Trigger Point Injections
- Less-invasive Spine Surgery
- Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion
- Cervical and Lumbar Laminectomy and Laminoplasty
- Lumbar Fusion
In the News
Join us in congratulating Dr. Natalie Nielsen in becoming Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery!
ABOS Board Certification “is yet one more assurance for patients and their families — before and after surgery. Studies point to better outcomes, decreased infection rates and reduced time away from home when surgery is performed by a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon”1.
Board certification is voluntary process beyond medical licensure. A Board Certified physician must meet certain educational requirements. Certification first consists of two phases. The first phase is a timed exam of approximately 320 multiple choice questions covering all of orthopaedics. After passing this exam, the physician is considered Board Eligible. The second phase is an oral exam, for which all surgical cases performed during a six-month period are submitted for review by the volunteer Board Certified orthopaedic surgeons. Twelve cases are selected for the oral exam presentation. The cases are independently graded and scrutinized by examiners on many levels. Once a physician passes the second phase, they are Board Certified for a period of 10 years.