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Spine and Pain Management

Approximately 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time. In most cases, this discomfort can be treated utilizing the latest noninvasive and minimally invasive techniques. At the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, our experienced orthopaedic surgeons offer a comprehensive range of spine and pain management options to help you minimize or eliminate temporary, chronic, recurrent, or neuropathic (nerve-related) neck or back conditions. Furthermore, we emphasize conservative treatment options, recommending surgery only in the event other modalities prove ineffective.

The following links provide additional information about some of the spinal conditions the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey addresses, along with their treatment options. If you would like to know more about spine and pain management, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopaedists, please contact our office today.

Scroll through the page to learn more about our approach to spine and pain management, or jump to the section you’re most interested in by clicking on the links below:

Spinal Pain Management Process

Pain management involves multiple disciplines working together to address the wide range of conditions that can develop in the spine. This field includes the study, prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of back and neck pain. Oftentimes spinal discomfort is temporary and self-limiting, meaning it will resolve on its own with time, rest, and/or physical therapy. In other cases, more advanced techniques may be utilized to improve mobility and to enhance the patient’s well-being.

Myelopathy Treatment

Treating the pain caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal (myelopathy) can help patients lead a more comfortable life with greater mobility. We offer surgical and non-surgical approaches, and we always lead with the least invasive techniques possible. Our skilled surgeons can help you find relief from discomfort.

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Radiculopathy Treatment

A pinched or damaged nerve within the spinal column is called radiculopathy. Just as there are many causes of this concern, so are there many treatment options, including minimally invasive procedures and non-surgical techniques. Our practice offers a comprehensive range of leading treatments to help patients restore function and reduce discomfort.

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Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

For many people, non-surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease can prove highly effective. In the event that minimally invasive methods are unsuccessful, our experienced surgeons can perform state-of-the-art operations to repair the damaged disc and restore function and comfort.

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Herniated Disc Treatment

For many people, non-surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease can prove highly effective. In the event that minimally invasive methods are unsuccessful, our experienced surgeons can perform state-of-the-art operations to repair the damaged disc and restore function and comfort.

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Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Another form of spinal canal narrowing, spinal stenosis can occur at one or more levels and cause disability, pain, numbness, and other serious concerns. Our practice provides a wide range of time-tested and advanced treatments, including non-invasive, minimally invasive, arthroscopic, and surgical options.

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Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain

Using pulses of electrical current, spinal cord stimulation can help to reduce chronic pain by inhibiting pain signals from the nerves to the brain. Currently in the trial phase, this innovative technique may be able to significantly address long-term discomfort for patients who have been unable to find relief through other methods.

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Pain management involves multiple disciplines working together to address the wide range of conditions that can develop in the spine. This field includes the study, prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of back and neck pain. Oftentimes spinal discomfort is temporary and self-limiting, meaning it will resolve on its own with time, rest, and/or physical therapy. In other cases, more advanced techniques may be utilized to improve mobility and to enhance the patient’s well-being.

Spinal Pain Treatment Options

Our board certified orthopaedic surgeons employ an extensive selection of treatment options to help our patients return to comfort and regular activity as quickly and as safely as possible. Non-invasive and minimally invasive methods are available for each area of pain—upper back/neck, mid-back, and lower back. Your care will be customized to best suit your needs and goals. The surgical procedures we offer include:

Upper Back/Neck Pain – Cervical Spine

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion

During this procedure, the affected disc and bone spurs (as applies) will be removed to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots and cord. This disc is replaced with a bone graft or prosthetic that allows the area to heal over time. Metal plates and screws may also be necessary to stabilize the section of the spine. Anterior refers to the approach, which will be performed on the front of the neck to one side.

Corpectomy

A small incision is made near the affected area and the discs above and below the compressed spinal cord and nerves are removed, along with a portion of bone that may have become weakened. A bone graft, prosthetic cage, and other devices may be used to stabilize the area.

Foraminotomy

This method is designed to expand the space within the spinal canal where the nerve roots extend out (called the foramin). The bone will be shaved or removed where the narrowing occurs to make the opening larger.

Laminectomy

Spinal canal narrowing may also be treated by removing the lamina, a section of bone that covers the rear of the spinal cord. Some or all of the lamina bones in the affected area may be removed to relieve pressure.

Laminectomy with Foraminotomy

If narrowing occurs within the foramin and the spinal canal, multiple techniques can be used to address this concern. By combining a laminectomy with a foraminotomy these areas can be made larger to reduce nerve compression.

Laminoplasty

Similar to a laminectomy, a laminoplasty involves modifying the piece of bone that covers the back of the spinal cord. In this procedure, the lamina is cut (but not removed) to relieve pressure. Titanium spacers, bone grafts, or other techniques/devices also may be utilized.

Microdiscectomy

Rather than remove the entire disc, this technique removes the nucleus of the disc (the interior core that seeps out after a herniation or rupture). Once it leaks out, the nucleus can harden and impinge nerve roots and the spinal cord. Little to no bone is removed with this minimally invasive procedure.

Posterior Cervical Decompression & Fusion

This technique is used to remove bone or ligaments that are compressing the spinal cord and nerves. The approach is made from the back (posterior) of the neck, and screws and rods are typically needed to stabilize the area.  

Mid-Back Pain – Thoracic Spine

Corpectomy

A small incision is made near the affected area and the discs above and below the compressed spinal cord and nerves are removed, along with a portion of bone that may have become weakened. A bone graft, prosthetic cage, and other devices may be used to stabilize the area.

Instrumentation Spinal Fusion

Often done in combination with other techniques, a spinal fusion with instrumentation is designed to address instability by fusing or joining vertebrae at the affected level with bone grafts and/or other supports like metal screws, rods, and cages. This approach reduces all movement in the treated area.

Kyphoplasty

In this minimally invasive procedure, a needle is administered into the fractured area of the spine through which a balloon will be inserted to bring the spine back into the original shape. The cavity created by this technique will then be filled with a special type of cement to repair the break.

Laminectomy

Spinal canal narrowing can be treated by removing the lamina, a section of bone that covers the rear of the spinal cord. Some or all of the lamina bones in the affected area may be removed to relieve pressure.

Lower Back Pain – Lumbar Spine

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

A type of fusion, this method involves an anterior (front) approach and 360-degree vertebral fusion. Complete removal of the disc will be performed and a replacement of bone graft or prosthetic cage (or spacer) with be inserted. The corresponding vertebrae will then be joined. As with other fusion methods, movement in the affected area will be eliminated.

Corpectomy

A small incision is made near the affected area and the discs above and below the compressed spinal cord and nerves are removed, along with a portion of bone that may have become weakened. A bone graft, prosthetic cage, and other devices may be used to stabilize the area.

Kyphoplasty

In this minimally invasive procedure, a needle is administered into the fractured area of the spine through which a balloon will be inserted to bring the spine back into the original shape. The cavity created by this technique will then be filled with a special type of cement to repair the break.

Laminectomy

Spinal canal narrowing can be treated by removing the lamina, a section of bone that covers the rear of the spinal cord. Some or all of the lamina bones in the affected area may be removed to relieve pressure.

Lateral Approach

With this technique, which goes through the side of the body, a vertebral disc can be removed and replaced without the need to disturb the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, bones, and ligaments near the spine.

Microdiscectomy

Rather than remove the entire disc, this technique removes the nucleus of the disc (the interior core that seeps out after a herniation or rupture). Once it leaks out, the nucleus can harden and impinge nerve roots and the spinal cord. Little to no bone is removed with this minimally invasive procedure.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Large incisions used to be necessary to perform many spinal procedures. Today, however, minimally invasive techniques can be completed with the aid of a microscope. This allows our surgeons access to the affected area while reducing damage to surrounding muscles, nerves, bones, and ligaments. As a result, patients typically experience less discomfort, have smaller incisions (and therefore scars), and heal faster.

Posterior Lumbar Decompression & Fusion

This technique is used to remove bone or ligaments that are compressing the spinal cord and nerves. The approach is made from the back (posterior) of the lower spine, and screws and rods are typically needed to stabilize the area.  

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

Similar to ALIF, PLIF joins the affected vertebrae and replaces the disc with a bone graft or prosthetic spacer. The difference is the approach, which occurs from the back (posterior) in the PLIF technique, as opposed to the front.

X-Stop Interspinous Spacer

The X-Stop is an FDA-approved device that can open up the space between two vertebrae to reduce compression on the nerve roots and the spinal cord. This can also be used to stabilize the affected area without the need for a fusion. No bone is removed for this method, and it can be inserted through a posterior (back) approach.

Non-Surgical Options

Prior to trying a surgical intervention, our surgeons always lead with non-surgical and minimally invasive techniques, which can include:

  • Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medication
  • Physical Therapy
  • Epidural Injections
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Behavior Modifications
  • Heat/Ice
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

If these conservative approaches fail to achieve the desired result, surgery may be recommended. Our experienced orthopaedists will develop a customized treatment plan that may involve multiple modalities to optimize results. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.