What is an orthopedic M.D.?

An orthopedic M.D. is a physician who specializes in conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. This consists of your skeleton along with all of the muscles and connective tissue which helps your body to sustain movement, strength, structure and stability. The musculoskeletal system is extremely complex and the combination of support and movement it endures means it is prone to injury and deterioration. Orthopedics is the branch of medicine focusing on the treatment of these disorders through surgery and other methods.

Most orthopedic M.D.s will subspecialize in a particular area of the body so they can further refine their expertise and better treat patients. The spine is an area particularly vulnerable to injury and age-related breakdown which can result in chronic pain due to its proximity to so many nerves. If you are dealing with chronic pain related to a spine condition, educating yourself is important. Learning more about how an orthopedic M.D. can treat the spine may help you make a more informed care decision with a better chance of getting you back to the people and activities you’ve been missing.

Potential problem areas

The spine has multiple roles. In addition to supporting the weight of the torso and head, it must also be able to bend, twist and flex from side to side. The spine also protects the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to branch off into the rest of the body. To accomplish this, the spine is constructed of many moving parts which can wear down as part of the natural aging process. Pain and other symptoms occur if spinal degeneration causes compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots as they exit the spinal column.

Once you find an orthopedic doctor, they can give you more information on the following components of the spine that are contributing to your pain and symptoms:

  • Joints – The spinal facet joints connect adjacent vertebrae. As we age, the cartilage that surrounds these joints begins to deteriorate, which can lead to bone grinding against bone.
  • Cartilage – Both the cartilage that surrounds our facet joints and the cartilage that makes up our spinal discs can wear out. This leads to weakened areas of the spine that are susceptible to damage.
  • Bones – The protective core of our spinal column is made up of bone segments called vertebrae. One of the body’s natural responses to increased friction from arthritis is to form smooth outgrowths of bone. These are called bone spurs, or osteophytes, and can contribute to overall spinal narrowing, called stenosis.

Spine specialists

If you are considering spine surgery after being diagnosed with a spine condition and exhausting conservative treatment options, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from pain. We use smaller muscle-sparing incisions that reduce the risks and the recovery time^ associated with traditional open back surgeries.

Reach out to us today to receive your no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.