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Orthopedics is a branch of medicine concerned with the function and integrity of the musculoskeletal system. This includes the muscles, joints, vertebrae and discs that make up the spinal column. For this reason, many patients with a spine condition will be recommended to see an orthopedic specialist for treatment.
Orthopedic specialists often help patients find relief from neck or back pain using conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication and lifestyle changes, among other options. In some cases, they may recommend an orthopedic spine surgeon if the symptoms are not responding to conservative treatment.
Understanding the anatomy of the spine
While orthopedics can translate to several areas of the body, this branch of medicine largely deals with the spine and various spinal conditions. Therefore, understanding the spine will help you better understand the purpose of an orthopedic specialist.
The core of the body’s musculoskeletal system is the spine, as it serves as the chief of communication between the brain and the various organs and systems located throughout the body.
As the body ages, the spine gradually weakens and degenerates with age. Spinal discs gradually lose their shape and strength, or joints lose their protective cartilage lining — all of which can result in the development of a painful spine condition.
Common conditions that fall under the specialty of orthopedics include:
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Facet joint disease
- Bone spur
- Spinal arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with one of these spine conditions, your doctor may recommend that you see an orthopedic specialist for treatment.
Often, conservative treatment is an effective way to find pain relief from common spine conditions. These treatments include physical therapy, pain medication, hot/cold compresses and many other options. The purpose of conservative treatment is to relieve pressure from the pinched nerve in the spine that is causing your pain.
Sometimes, conservative treatment is not enough to relieve your pain, and your specialist may recommend you for orthopedic spine surgery.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to treat many common spine conditions. Our skilled orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons use minimally invasive techniques to help relieve pressure on a pinched nerve without disrupting the integrity of the spine.