Fort Myers Spine Center of Excellence

Comprehensive Treatment for Back Pain

Often times, many people overlook their spine health until they experience back pain. Back pain is a common event. We recommend that you seek consultation from an orthopedic physician when you have back pain, with or without numbness and tingling in a leg or an arm, that lasts more 6 weeks, or if you are experiencing back pain at night.

Most back pain is low back pain which is pain from nerves, muscles, ligaments, and joints. Science shows that the best way to approach back pain is to develop muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. Physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, and physical conditioning are conservative methods used to help patients manage their condition. Additional conservative measures include acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, yoga, and relaxation activities.

Some common spine conditions we treat:

  • Herniated disc – A herniated disc occurs when a disc in the spine is injured or wears down, and bulges into the spinal canal. Obesity and a history of smoking increase the risk of bulging discs. The damaged disc may be removed in a procedure called a discectomy.
  • Sciatica – Sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve in the low back, due to spinal stenosis, degenerative disease, and when a muscle deep in the buttocks pinches the nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which compresses the spinal cord and nerves. Compression results in myelopathy, a condition that causes gait disturbances, and muscle spasticity, weakness and numbness. It is usually caused by osteoarthritis of the spine, a slowly progressive degeneration. The most common procedure to decompress the spine is a laminectomy.
  • Spinal Compression Fractures – Osteoporotic fractures of the spine and hip are due to Osteoporosis, a disease that causes weak, brittle, fragile bones that are easily broken. Medications for pain and to treat bone density are employed, along with a back brace. Chronic pain may require surgery.
  • Degenerative disc disease – This is a natural breakdown of the discs between the vertebrae due to trauma, genetics and previous surgery. It causes debilitating pain and muscle spasms, and in the worst case drastically affects quality of life. In that case, spinal fusion or disc replacement surgery may provide relief.
  • Neck Pain (Cervical Spine) – Neck pain is often due to degenerative or aging conditions of the spine, that put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Diagnosing back pain

Your spine expert at Orthopedic Specialists of SW Florida will review your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order imaging studies such as X-Rays for bone fractures and arthritis, and MRIs for soft tissue injuries.

Your spine specialist will evaluate your symptoms, physical findings, imaging studies, and lab tests to make a diagnosis. You will be provided with an explanation of your pain, and create a personalized program for your success.

Our Spine Specialists

  • Dr. Paul D. Fuchs, DO is a surgical spine specialist. He was fellowship-trained at Stanford University and is the co-founder of our Spine Center. His specialty is minimally invasive spine surgery.
  • Dr. Allen C. Tafel, MD is our non-surgical spine specialist. He is a board-certified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Dr. Tafel is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic pain and disability caused by injury, illness or conditions involving any organ system.
  • Dr. Dale Segal, MD is a fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon specializing in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery. He completed his residency at Emory University and served as chief resident at the University Orthopedic and Spine Hospital. He completed a fellowship at Harvard Medical School - Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

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