The multidisciplinary team at The Medical Center of Aurora treats many conditions of the back, neck and spine. Using the latest technology and treatment options, our team creates an individualized plan to meet your needs. Conditions we treat include:
Back pain is an ache or discomfort in the back and spinal column that can cause debilitating pain and limited motion. Back pain is very common, affecting most adults at some point in their lives. At TMCA, our orthopedic surgeons take back pain seriously. We employ a variety of methods to diagnose common causes of back pain, including strains and sprains.
We offer a variety of lifestyle, physical therapy, and surgical treatment plans for back pain, strain, or sprain. Lifestyle changes may include limiting bed rest and the pursuit of an active lifestyle to combat back pain. Some over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications may also help. Physical therapy may include hot and cold therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, or massage. If other medical treatment options have been exhausted without success, surgery may be necessary, but this is rare. Common procedures include discectomy, laminectomy, and spinal fusion. We’ll work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that relieves your back pain. Learn more here.
Bone spurs are smooth, hard projections of extra bone that develop along the ends of bones, especially in joints and places where two bones meet. Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms. However, bone spurs on your vertebrae can narrow the space that contains your spinal cord, pinching the cord or its nerves roots. This can cause weakness or numbness in your arms or legs.
A burst fracture is an injury to the spine in which the spine is compressed and broken in multiple directions. This is usually a result of significant trauma, including severe falls or vehicular accidents. Treatment may include surgery or a brace.
A compression fracture occurs when part of a vertebra collapses. Compression fractures usually occur in the middle or lower spine and may or may not cause symptoms. When experienced, symptoms may include pain or numbness and weakness in the back, arms, or legs. Treatment may include surgery, kyphoplasty, or a brace.
Discs lie between the spinal bones (vertebrae) and both protect the spine and help it stay flexible. Degenerative disc disease is an orthopedic spine condition caused by wear and tear on these discs. We offer several methods of treatment for degenerative disc disease. Physical therapy—including posture training, exercise, and hot and cold therapy—may help you manage the symptoms of your disease. Steroid injections, applied to the nerves around the spinal cord, can provide pain relief. In some rare cases, surgery may be required to repair degenerative disc disease and relieve pain and discomfort. Learn more here.
Herniated discs are an orthopedic condition that affects the discs between the vertebral bones in the spinal column. A herniated disc bulges from its proper place, putting pressure on spinal nerves. This is most common in the lower spine. Symptoms include:
- Sharp or dull pain in the back, buttocks, down the back of the leg, and into the calf
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs or feet
- Sudden, aching pain in the back or neck
- Inability to get comfortable (even while lying down)
Treatment for a herniated disc may include:
- Back or neck massage
- Physical therapy to relax the muscles and relieve pain
- Back and core exercises
- A neck or collar brace
- Chiropractic care
For patients unable to resolve their herniated disc with physical therapy, over-the-counter and prescription pain medications may be necessary. In rare cases, herniated discs that fail to respond to other treatments may require surgical intervention. Common surgical procedures include laminectomy, microdiscectomy (intervertebral discectomy), and spinal fusion. Learn more here.
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. It is caused by the inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Osteoarthritis worsens over time, meaning symptoms can intensify, and may include:
- Pain in your joints or spine
- Stiffness and loss of flexibility
- The development of bone spurs
There is no cure, but treatment can help with the control of pain and swelling. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and improve quality of life. Learn more here.
Osteoporosis—which means “porous bone”—is a disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose density, making them weak and brittle. In severe cases, minor incidents such as bumping into an object, bending over, or even sneezing can cause a fracture. Symptoms include:
- Back pain (usually caused by a fracture or collapsed vertebra)
- Loss of height over time
- Easily occurring bone fractures
Symptoms are generally not experienced until later stages of osteoporosis, after your bones have already weakened. Learn more here.
Sciatica is caused by irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. It can be caused by a herniated disc, arthritis of the lower back, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or other orthopedic spine conditions.
Treatment for sciatica seeks to reduce irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Bed rest is not generally recommended, and recovery can often be helped by an active lifestyle that includes an exercise routine. Several medications can be used to treat sciatica including over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, muscle relaxers for muscle spasms, and corticosteroid injections.
Surgery may also be used to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. This is performed in emergency situations or if other treatments fail. Common surgical procedures are microdiscectomy and lumbar laminectomy. Learn more here.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. A spine with scoliosis may appear to have an “S-shaped” or “C-shaped” curve. Severe cases of scoliosis can result in pain and weakness in the spine. Very severe scoliosis may cause heart and lung problems, if those organs are overly cramped in an abnormally shaped chest cavity. Most cases of scoliosis begin when a child is around 8-10 years old, with gradual progression of the abnormal curvature as they continue to grow. However, it can present at any age, including in newborns.
There are several types and classifications of scoliosis:
- Structural— occurs because of a vertebral body defect. Classification of structural scoliosis is based on the cause of the defect.
- Congenital—occurs during fetal development and is usually present at birth.
- Syndromic—occurs as a result of an underlying health condition that affects the nerves, muscles, or bones in the back and spine
- Idiopathic—occurs without a specific cause but is likely due to a combination of multiple genetic factors
Treatment options for scoliosis vary based on type, and our leading orthopedic physicians work closely with each patient to develop a treatment plan for their specific scoliosis symptoms. Learn more here.
Spinal fractures that occur along the spine are caused by a dislocation of a vertebra, which can cause bone fragments to pinch or damage spinal nerves.
A spinal fusion is a surgery to weld together two or more vertebrae. There are several different types of spinal fusions based on factors such as the part of the spine involved, placement of the incisions, and the parts of the vertebra that are initially fused.
All fusion surgeries include the use of a graft made of bone material to stimulate healing and encourage the two separate bones to heal together into one solid bone. The graft may be a piece of bone from the hip, a piece of bone from a cadaver, or artificial bone material. Learn more here.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is a small space located in the backbone that squeezes the nerves and spinal cords as it narrows. This can cause several symptoms of spinal stenosis, including:
- Numbness and weakness in the back, legs, and thighs
- Decreased sensation in the legs and feet
- Partial or complete paralysis of the legs
For patients diagnosed with spinal stenosis, we offer a variety of treatment options, including medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injections can help manage the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Physical therapy, including stabilizing and strengthening exercises, can help relieve pain. Support devices, including corsets and lumbar braces, can stabilize the spine and provide support. For severe cases that don’t respond to other treatment methods, TMCA offers surgical options, including decompression laminectomy and spinal fusion. Learn more here.
A spinal tumor is an abnormal growth in the spine. The tumor may occur in the bones of the spine, nerve tissue, or soft tissue around the spine. Tumors in the spine can press on nerves and the blood supply, causing a variety of symptoms. The tumors may be benign or malignant. Our team of orthopedic physicians at TMCA are dedicated to providing world-class care for patients with spinal tumors, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Learn more here.
The spine is made of several bones called vertebra. They are lined up so the spinal cord can run through the center of the bones. Spondylolisthesis is when one of the vertebrae (usually in the lower back area) slips out of place. It moves forward compared to the vertebra below and develops slowly over time.
Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that can include spraining the neck ligaments, straining the neck muscles, injury to cervical discs, and possible nerve injury. Treatment methods for relieving the discomfort of whiplash may include over-the-counter and prescription medications to reduce pain, movement and exercises to reduce stiffness, physical therapy, and joint manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor or other trained provider. Learn more here.