Neck & back pain are typically caused by structures of the spine itself and surrounding soft tissues. These include degenerative discs as well as inflamed facet joints (which can become arthritic). Surrounding soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles can also become inflamed. Neck & back pain can often be managed with nonsurgical treatments such as heat, medications, and physical therapy. However, if a patient’s neck and back pain are not improving with nonsurgical treatments, they should seek medical attention to determine the exact cause of their symptoms and possible treatment options.

Symptoms of a compressed spinal nerve often present as pain, numbness, and weakness down an extremity (arm or leg). This can be caused by a herniated disc, bone spur, or other spine condition. Patients should seek medical attention if they have any of these symptoms. Less common, but more concerning symptoms such as bowel and bladder incontinence as well as groin numbness can be from severe nerve compression and warrant emergent evaluation in an emergency room.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Many spine conditions can be treated without surgery. Neck & back pain are very common and one of the primary reasons patients visit their primary care doctor. Most patients with neck & back pain do not require surgery. The following is a list of the most common nonsurgical treatments for spine conditions.

Surgical Treatments

The most common reason for spine surgery is to remove pressure on a spinal nerve in order to resolve pain, numbness, and/or weakness down an extremity (arm or leg). Surgery is also performed to stabilize a segment of the spine where one vertebra is slipping forward on another (spondylolisthesis). In addition, some spine conditions can cause abnormal curves within the spine (scoliosis or kyphosis) which need to be corrected with surgery. The following are the most common spine procedures performed as well as an explanation of minimally invasive spine surgery and how it is performed.