Back and neck pain specialists in Charleston and Summerville, SC
Our highly trained team at Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center can handle a range of orthopedic and neurological disorders. With surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, rehabilitation specialists and medical support personnel, our approach to care helps us design comprehensive treatment plans to meet each patient's individual needs.
For more information or to talk with one of our spine surgeons, you can schedule an appointment.
Diagnosing back and neck pain
Many types of back and neck pain are caused by a simple muscle strain. This pain can usually be treated with some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and rest.
Repeated and chronic pain can result in degeneration of the cervical spine. Pain may range from mild to severe, but if it persists for more than six months, you should consult a physician.
Your physician or specialist will usually perform several diagnostic imaging tests, including a bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan. They may also order blood and urine tests.
Spine conditions and injuries we care for
For patients with musculoskeletal or neurological disorders, we can aid in diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention. We treat a variety of conditions, from scoliosis to spinal stenosis. Our overall goal is to return our patients to their everyday function as quickly and safely as possible.
Our orthopedic spine specialists offer treatment for the following:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Mechanical neck pain
- Muscle strain
- Pinched nerve
- Poor posture
- Prior spine surgery
- Spinal stenosis
- Strain/sprain of muscles or ligaments
Kyphosis is the rounding or curving of the spine. There are several causes of kyphosis, including:
- Abnormal fetal development
- Bad posture
- Certain diseases, including Marfan syndrome, cancer, tuberculosis, cerebral palsy and polio
- Fractures of the vertebrae
- Spinal trauma
- Spine infection
Kyphosis is typically diagnosed through an X-ray of the spine using radiation to photograph structures inside the body. A breathing test may also be conducted.
Postural kyphosis is commonly treated by correcting the patient’s posture while sitting and standing and through strengthening exercises for the back muscles. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Treatment for spine conditions and injuries
Treatment options for back and neck pain can vary. Some conditions are more serious, requiring surgical intervention. We offer the following treatments to help relieve back and neck pain:
- Discectomy—The removal of the herniated portion of a disc. This procedure relieves the pressure on nearby nerves as they exit the spinal canal.
- Lumbar discectomy—The surgeon typically only removes the portion of the disc that is causing a problem, not the entire disc.
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)—Back muscles and nerves remain undisturbed. The space between discs is fused by approaching the spine through the abdomen. The surgeon will approach the abdomen through an incision or by using an endoscope.
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)—Very similar to the anterior lumbar interbody fusion except the surgeon approaches the spine through the low back. It can also provide an anterior fusion of the disc space without having a second incision.
- Lumbar laminectomy—Involves the removal of part or all of the bone covering the spinal canal. This procedure can free nerve roots, remove a tumor, remove a bone spur or perform certain types of fusion procedures.
- Kyphoplasty—A minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure used to treat painful, progressive vertebral compression fractures.
- Disc replacement—Artificial disc replacement has emerged as an effective treatment option for low back pain. Disc replacement substitutes a mechanical device for an intervertebral disc in the spine.
- Spinal fusion—A surgical procedure used to correct problems with the vertebrae of the spine. The spine is stabilized by fusing two or more vertebrae using bone grafts, metal rods and metal screws.
- Bone grafting—Small pieces of bone are placed into the space between the vertebrae to be fused. The bone is either supplied by the patient or harvested from other individuals.
- Posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy—Some cases of herniated discs or bone spurs that occur in the neck only affect the nerve roots. This procedure avoids spinal fusion and can minimize recovery time.
- Anterior cervical discectomy—The surgeon removes a piece of damaged disc tissue in the neck area to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
- Corpectomy—Complete decompression of the spinal canal. The middle portion of the vertebra and its adjacent discs are removed to decompress the cervical spinal cord and nerve roots.
- Anterior cervical fusion—During this surgery, a disc is removed. The surgeon inserts a small wedge of bone between two vertebrae to restore disc space. Over time, the two vertebrae fuse together into a single solid structure.
- Laminoplasty—Often performed on patients suffering from spinal stenosis in the neck. This procedure creates more space for the spinal cord and roots. It relieves pressure on the spinal canal's diameter and making room for the spinal cord.
Other possible treatment options include:
- Chiropractic care
- Medication, including pain relievers, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and cortisone shots
- Physical therapy
- Short-term bed rest for those with debilitating back pain
Spinal cord stimulator for chronic pain
Trident Medical Center was the first hospital in the country to perform a spinal cord stimulator implant. The device relieves pain by delivering electrical pulses to the spinal cord. Instead of feeling pain, patients experience a tingling sensation. They can control the level of pulses sent by a handheld remote control, giving them the ability to change the number of pulses depending on the level of discomfort.
This device is the most technologically advanced implant available today for the control of chronic pain.