Our spine is the structural support of our body, crucial for maintaining an upright posture and safeguarding the delicate spinal cord. Its pivotal role underscores the significance of comprehensive spine care in preserving our overall health. Without a healthy spine, our ability to perform even the most fundamental tasks is compromised.
Total spine care encompasses three fundamental pillars: diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. While the specifics of these components can vary based on the nature of the spinal injury or condition, their core importance remains unchanged. Exploring each facet of total spine care will deepen our appreciation for the critical role that spine health plays in our well-being.
For any spine-related issue, a clinical examination will occur first in the diagnosis process. Your healthcare provider will assess your medical history and symptoms before performing a physical evaluation of your spine. Following the examination, your physician may choose to run imaging tests to visualize the spine and identify any abnormalities, fractures, or degeneration. Common diagnostic tests for spinal conditions include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Other specialized tests, such as an electromyograph, will test muscle response to innervation.
Once the diagnosis has been determined, treatment will follow. Depending on the severity of the spinal condition, treatment options will vary. Many minor spinal injuries or conditions can be treated via conservative measures, such as medication, injections, and lifestyle changes. For example, muscle relaxers and pain medication can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in your spine. Beyond oral medications, spinal injections can deliver pain and anti-inflammatory medications directly to the affected area of the spine, providing quick and lasting relief. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, diet and posture adjustments can be effective in treating minor spinal issues. If the injury or spinal condition is severe or if conservative treatments have failed, spinal surgery may be recommended. Common surgeries include spinal decompression, spinal fusion, and disc replacement.
After seeking treatment for your spine, rehabilitation is necessary to ensure optimal healing during recovery. After back or neck surgery, physical therapy is recommended to practice targeted exercises to improve your spine health. During physical therapy, you will work with your physical therapist to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine, improve spine flexibility, and encourage overall healing. Your provider may recommend lifestyle modifications necessary for your recovery.
Total spine care aims to optimize spinal health, alleviate discomfort, and enhance the overall quality of life for patients. At Spine Clinic of Oklahoma City, we take pride in delivering top-notch total spine care, consistently placing your spine health as our foremost priority.
AUTHOR: : Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.