Your spine plays a critical role in how you move every day. That’s why neck and back pain can affect your quality of life.
At New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (NHOC), we help people find fast relief from neck and back pain through comprehensive spine care services. Using the latest treatments and the experienced hands of our spine specialists, you’ll be back to life on your terms in no time.
Spine Care Excellence in New Hampshire
We understand the toll that neck and back pain can take on your life. That’s why we’ve designed our program so you can get spine care fast and conveniently. In addition to timely evaluation appointments, we offer:
- Skilled spine specialists: Our board-certified spine specialists have all completed the highest level of training (fellowship training) in their specialties. This special knowledge and skill base means that you’re highly likely to experience a successful outcome, even if your case is complex. They are also up to date on the latest spine treatment techniques and technologies.
- Comprehensive spine care under one roof: You won’t need to visit anywhere else to address your spine care needs. From MRIs and epidural steroid injections to physical therapy and complex surgical procedures, we’ve got you covered.
- Minimally invasive options: We exhaust the full range of nonsurgical treatments before recommending surgery. But if surgery is your best option for an optimal outcome, we often can use minimally invasive techniques, including ExcelsiusGPS® robot navigation. Minimally invasive spine surgery offers smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery.
- Care for the whole body: Sometimes lower back pain can lead to pain elsewhere in your body. Or the source of neck pain may actually be your shoulder. No matter your orthopedic concern, NHOC has providers who specialize in that area. Your spine doctor can connect you with the most appropriate NHOC orthopedic specialist to treat your problem.
- Treatments tailored to you: Our spine doctors work with you to create a treatment plan you’re comfortable with. They discuss your diagnosis and explain your treatment options. They also take the time to understand your lifestyle, goals and concerns. That way, you can feel confident about your treatment plan.
- Expert second opinions: Because our spine specialists have experience in different approaches to treating the spine, they can offer alternative perspectives on treatments. They are ready and available to help when you need a second opinion, so you don’t have to waste time and energy finding one elsewhere.
- Convenient locations: We provide spine care near the area’s best hospitals in Nashua, Bedford, Londonderry and Amherst. Choose the office location most convenient for you.
Understanding Your Spine
The spine, or backbone, supports your entire musculoskeletal system. It’s made up of thirty-three small bones (vertebrae) divided into five sections:
- Cervical (neck)
- Thoracic (middle back)
- Lumbar (lower back)
- Sacral (connects lumbar spine to the hips)
- Coccyx (tailbone)
The vertebrae are separated by spongy, shock-absorbing discs. Facet joints on the back of each vertebra stabilize the spine and allow movement and flexibility.
The spinal cord runs through a canal formed by the vertebrae on one side and a bony arch on the other. Nerve roots branch off the spinal cord through holes on the sides of the bony arch.
Diagnosing Spine Injuries and Disorders
To understand the source of your neck or back pain, you first undergo a physical exam. You’ll have X-rays, if needed, to rule out a fracture or dislocation. We offer X-rays in our office, so you don’t need to go to another location. We may also perform more advanced imaging tests, such as MRI, to confirm the diagnosis.
Our spine doctors treat the full spectrum of spinal injuries and conditions, including:
- Abnormal spine curvature, including kyphosis, scoliosis and deformity
- Back and neck pain
- Herniated discs of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine
- Myelopathy (spinal cord injury caused by compression in the spine)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces in the spinal canal) and nerve compression
- Spine fractures
- Spondylolisthesis (when a vertebra slips out of place onto the one underneath it)
Nonsurgical Neck and Back Treatments
At NHOC, our spine specialists offer numerous nonsurgical neck and back pain treatments, including:
- Counseling and education: Our spine doctors give you guidance and education on how to relieve back and neck pain.
- Medications: Over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants, can help relieve your pain and calm inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Our skilled physical therapists help you feel better after an injury or surgery by addressing your pain, balance, strength and overall independence. Your NHOC physical therapist keeps your spine doctor informed of your progress at all times. Read more about physical therapy.
- Epidural steroid injections: Epidural steroid injections help relieve pain and improve mobility so you can return to normal activities or participate in physical therapy.
- Radiofrequency ablation: When the spine’s facet joints start to wear down, they can compress nerves and cause pain. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to burn the nerve that is causing pain. This process blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
- Spinal cord stimulation: A spinal cord stimulator is a small device with wire leads that send electrical impulses to the spine to relieve back pain. After your spine doctor implants the device, you use a remote control to deliver electrical impulses when you feel pain.
We typically recommend spine surgery only after nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve the pain. Our spine surgeons specialize in comprehensive treatment of the neck, mid-back and low back including:
- Complex scoliosis and spinal reconstruction
- Minimally invasive and robot-assisted spine surgery
- Motion preserving surgery
Some of the most common procedures we perform include:
- Cervical and lumbar fusion: These procedures permanently connect two or more vertebrae in the spine to reduce movement between the joints and the pain that movement causes.
- Minimally invasive lumbar fusion: Minimally invasive approaches to lumbar fusion include XLIF (eXtreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion), OLIF (oblique lumbar interbody fusion) and TLIF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion). Our spine surgeons are experienced in these innovative procedures.
- Laminectomy: This procedure removes the lamina, the back part of a vertebra, to create space and relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
- Microdiscectomy: This minimally invasive procedure treats herniated discs. Your surgeon removes the protruding part of the disc to relieve pressure on the compressed spinal nerve root.
- Kyphoplasty: During kyphoplasty, your spine surgeon inflates a tiny balloon inside a fractured vertebra and injects a special cement into the fracture. Osteoporosis is a common cause of compression fractures.
- Cervical disc replacement: To treat cervical disc problems and neck pain, your spine surgeon replaces the damaged disc with one made of metal and a special plastic. This procedure allows the vertebrae to move, so they don’t wear out (degenerate) as quickly. The alternative, cervical fusion, prevents movement between the vertebrae.
- Cervical laminoplasty: This motion-preserving technique allows your spine surgeon to decompress and preserve the cervical spinal cord without a neck fusion.
- Deformity reconstruction: Sometimes, minimally invasive techniques can’t effectively treat spine problems, like deformities. A spinal deformity may be caused by a congenital condition (present at birth), degenerative collapse, chronic or new injury or previous surgery. Our spine surgeons are experienced in advanced reconstructive techniques for spinal deformities. These techniques include:
- Cervical and lumbar corpectomy
- Three-column osteotomy
- Thoracolumbar and cervicothoracic fusion
Contact Us About Spine Care
For questions about our spine care program, or to make an appointment with one of our spine specialists, call 603.883.0091.