An Experts Guide to Avoiding Back Pain

Deciding whether to have spine surgery

By Alan S. Hilibrand, MD | Featured on AAOS

Orthopaedic surgeons encourage “shared decision-making” when it comes to treating patients, because the doctor and patient each provide information needed to make a decision about surgery.

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The Best Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors

The Best Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors

By Erin Jones | Article Featured on US News

AFTER A SPINAL CORD injury, it’s no surprise that life changes. Even daily tasks, like getting dressed in the morning, may become more difficult. Depending on a patient’s injury, however, certain exercises can help those with spinal cord injuries improve function and adapt to using a wheelchair.

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Back pain is extremely common, and surgery often fails to relieve it. Find out why your back hurts and whether surgery might help.

Back surgery: When is it a good idea?

Back pain is extremely common, and surgery often fails to relieve it. Find out why your back hurts and whether surgery might help.

Back surgery can help relieve some causes of back pain, but it’s rarely necessary. Most back pain resolves on its own within three months.

Low back pain is one of the most common ailments seen by family doctors. Back problems typically respond to nonsurgical treatments — such as anti-inflammatory medications, heat and physical therapy.

Back surgery might be an option if conservative treatments haven’t worked and your pain is persistent and disabling. Back surgery often more predictably relieves associated pain or numbness that goes down one or both arms or legs.

These symptoms often are caused by compressed nerves in your spine. Nerves may become compressed for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Disk problems. Bulging or ruptured (herniated) disks — the rubbery cushions separating the bones of your spine — can sometimes press too tightly against a spinal nerve and affect its function.
  • Overgrowth of bone. Osteoarthritis can result in bone spurs on your spine. This excess bone most commonly affects the hinge joints on the back part of the spinal column and can narrow the amount of space available for nerves to pass through openings in your spine.

It can be very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of your back pain, even if your X-rays show that you have disk problems or bone spurs. X-rays taken for other reasons often reveal bulging or herniated disks that cause no symptoms and need no treatment.

Different types of back surgery include:

  • Diskectomy. This involves removal of the herniated portion of a disk to relieve irritation and inflammation of a nerve. Diskectomy typically involves full or partial removal of the back portion of a vertebra (lamina) to access the ruptured disk.
  • Laminectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the bone overlying the spinal canal. It enlarges the spinal canal and is performed to relieve nerve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.
  • Fusion. Spinal fusion permanently connects two or more bones in your spine. It can relieve pain by adding stability to a spinal fracture. It is occasionally used to eliminate painful motion between vertebrae that can result from a degenerated or injured disk.
  • Artificial disks. Implanted artificial disks are a treatment alternative to spinal fusion for painful movement between two vertebrae due to a degenerated or injured disk. But these relatively new devices aren’t an option for most people.

Before you agree to back surgery, consider getting a second opinion from a qualified spine specialist. Spine surgeons may hold different opinions about when to operate, what type of surgery to perform and whether — for some spine conditions — surgery is warranted at all. Back and leg pain can be a complex issue that may require a team of health professionals to diagnose and treat.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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New Surgical Strategy Offers Hope for Repairing Spinal Injuries

Article Found on MedicalNewsToday

Surgery to reconnect sensory neurons to the spinal cord after a traumatic spinal injury works because offshoots from the spinal cord complete the spinal circuit.

Scientists in the UK and Sweden previously developed a new surgical technique to reconnect sensory neurons to the spinal cord after traumatic spinal injuries. Now, they have gained new insight into how the technique works at a cellular level by recreating it in rats with implications for designing new therapies for injuries where the spinal cord itself is severed. Read more

new mexico, orthopaedic doctors, albuquerque

How the Spinal Cord Works

Article Found on ChristopherReeve.org

What is the central nervous system?

The central nervous system (CNS) controls most functions of the body and mind. It consists of two parts: the brain and the spinal cord.

The brain is the center of our thoughts, the interpreter of our external environment, and the origin of control over body movement. Like a central computer, it interprets information from our eyes (sight), ears (sound), nose (smell), tongue (taste), and skin (touch), as well as from internal organs such as the stomach.

The spinal cord is the highway for communication between the body and the brain. When the spinal cord is injured, the exchange of information between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Read more

Learn About Spinal Cord Injuries

Learn About Spinal Cord Injuries

Article Featured on Shepherd Center

Every year, about 12,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury. That’s 30 new injuries every day. Most of these people are injured in auto and sports-related accidents, falls and industrial mishaps. An estimated 60 percent of these individuals are 30 years old or younger, and the majority of them are men.

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Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

A spinal cord injury — damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal — often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury.

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