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Orthopedic specialists diagnose and treat conditions and injuries associated with muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. This includes the spine. Back and spine specialists provide a variety of treatment options for back symptoms, including medications, injections, physical therapy, exercises, and surgery. If you have ongoing pain or other symptoms related to your back, it is time to see a specialist.

What Is a Back and Spine Specialist?

These are health professionals who focus their expertise on conditions and injuries of the spine and back. Orthopedists are physicians who have special training in the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue.

Orthopedists often specialize in certain areas of the body. Back and spine orthopedic specialists provide diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and preventative services for patients with back injuries or diseases. They often begin with more conservative, non-surgical treatments and use surgery when necessary.

Orthopedic back specialists have extensive training. They have completed medical school, at least five years in an orthopedic residency, and an additional year or more in a subspecialty fellowship.

When Do I Need a Back and Spine Orthopedist?

Spine and back specialists are true experts in this area of the body and help patients with any symptoms that arise there. You might want to see your primary care physician first, but if you experience any of the following symptoms, you may ultimately need a specialist:

  • Chronic back pain. Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints, with eight out of ten people dealing with it at some point in their lives. If it lasts more than three months, the pain is considered chronic. Specialists get to the root of the pain and offer both surgical and non-surgical solutions.
  • Limited mobility. If back pain and other symptoms limit your activity level, it is time to see a specialist. They can find the underlying problem and suggest solutions that will get you back to moving more.
  • Acute back pain. Sudden onset back pain usually indicates an injury, whether you can pinpoint the cause or not. See a specialist if it does not resolve within a few days. If the pain is severe, you might need urgent care.
  • Leg or arm symptoms. Problems in the back can radiate down the limbs causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the legs, feet, arms, or hands. This indicates a nerve issue that will not get better without treatment.
  • Bowel or bladder issues. Another sign that a back condition is affecting your nerves is problems with the bowel or bladder. If you have control issues or have to use the bathroom often in addition to experiencing back symptoms, you need to get it checked out.

What Do Back Specialists Treat?

There are many potential causes of back and spine pain, which is why it is so important to see a specialist. They will evaluate your symptoms, perform a physical exam, run diagnostic tests, and use their expertise to get to the root of the problem. Back and spine orthopedists treat a wide range of conditions and injuries:

  • Overuse injuries. Overuse or repetitive motion injuries can affect the back. You can irritate the tissue in the back and spine if you are unprepared for an infrequent activity, like lifting something heavy or shoveling snow. Sports can also cause repetitive motion damage.
  • Fractures. Spine fractures vary in severity and might require bracing, pain medication, or surgery to correct and stabilize the spine.
  • Arthritis. Arthritis affects the spine as well as other joints. Osteoarthritis results from natural wear and tear with age, but it can also come from injuries. Arthritis can also cause additional back problems, like spinal stenosis and bone spurs.
  • Spondylolisthesis. One of the potential consequences of arthritis is spondylolisthesis, the slipping of one vertebra over another. This can affect nerves and cause pain and other symptoms.
  • Herniated disc. Most common in the lower back, herniated discs occur when the center of a disc—the spongy cushioning tissue between vertebrae—bulges outward or ruptures. It can cause pain as well as tingling and numbness in the legs.
  • Spinal instability. Injuries, aging, congenital defects, and tumors can destabilize the spine, causing pain, tingling, leg weakness, and numbness.
  • Nervous system disorders. Damage to or disease in the spinal cord and nerves can cause significant pain and dysfunction. Back and spine specialists can be part of the treatment for pinched nerves, neuropathy, myelopathy, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and other disorders.
  • Pediatric back problems. Orthopedic specialists also work with children to treat injuries and other issues of the spine and back. These include spinal deformities, like scoliosis.

Do I Need Urgent Care for Back Pain?

Turn to orthopedic urgent care for injuries that do not require emergency care. Our urgent care centers treat broken bones and closed fractures, sports injuries, sprains and strains, as well as sudden-onset symptoms.

EmergeOrtho’s convenient North Carolina locations are staffed by expert back and spine specialists. They provide diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation to help you or your child overcome back symptoms and return to usual activities. Request an appointment today to see one of our spine specialists.

Medical Advice Disclaimer

This website does not provide medical advice. The information on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers. Never disregard professional medical advice because of something you read on this website. If you need medical advice or treatment, click here to schedule an appointment.

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