Orthopedic Services | Joint Replacement | Merit Health Wesley | Hattiesburg, MS

Spine Services

When to See a Doctor About Spine Pain

Problems with your back and neck can be difficult to pinpoint. Conditions such as pulled muscles, pinched nerves, herniated discs or spinal cord compression can have symptoms that range from dull aches and sharp, burning back pain to weakness or tingling in your arms and legs. You may experience pain and shocking sensations when you bend, twist, walk or stand up. Lumbar or lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain and issues near the top of the spine and neck can have several different causes. Whether you’ve suffered from severe back and neck pain for a long time or are just beginning to deal with symptoms, knowing when to see a spine specialist shouldn’t be a difficult decision.

If your back or neck pain is keeping you from doing things you enjoy, interrupting your sleep or disrupting your daily life, you should consider making an appointment with a spine specialist. Merit Health Wesley offers a variety of surgical and non-surgical solutions to treat severe back and neck pain.

Spinal conditions we treat:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Sciatic nerve issues
  • Nerve root or spinal cord compression
  • Herniated disc
  • Slipped vertebrae
  • Arthritis of the spine or spondylosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Whiplash
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Non-Surgical Treatment for Back and Neck Pain

Chronic back and neck pain shouldn’t go untreated, especially if it’s interfering with your life. An orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon can help diagnose and treat your spine pain. Typically, less invasive treatments will be recommended before surgery is considered. Common treatments for spine pain include physical therapy, braces, medication such as painkillers and muscle relaxers or injections. Your doctor will develop a plan to help alleviate your pain and get you back to doing the things you enjoy.

Surgical Options for the Spine

When more traditional treatments like physical therapy and medication fail to relieve your back or neck pain, surgery could be recommended. If surgery is prescribed, your spine specialist will use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. This involves smaller incisions than traditional or open surgery, which typically result in less pain and a faster recovery. Our surgical services range from general spine procedures to cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) surgeries.

Our spine procedures include:

  • Discectomy - Removal of disc material
  • Fusion - Connecting of two or more vertebrae
  • Laminectomy - Removal of part of all of a vertebral bone
  • Kyphoplasty - Repair of vertebra fractures
  • Corpectomy - Removal of all or part of a vertebra
  • Chiari Decompression - Removal of bones at the back of the skull
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation - Implant that delivers electrical impulses to control pain

Robotic Spine Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery could be an option for some patients, providing the potential for reduced pain and a faster recovery over more traditional surgeries. The process typically starts with a scan of the patient’s spine. Then the system creates a 3D model which allows the surgeon to determine a spinal alignment plan before surgery.

Then, during surgery, a spine surgeon can utilize the robot and software to assist with positioning and alignment. Our robotic-assisted system provides measurements and visualization of the patient’s unique anatomy, allowing the surgeon to adjust and customize the plan as needed.

Chronic Spine Pain

Pain in your spine can become debilitating. If you're trying to decide whether you should see a doctor, consider the amount of time you’ve been dealing with pain and the level of pain you feel. Pain that lasts more than three months and doesn’t dissipate is considered chronic. Pain that keeps you from performing daily living activities is considered severe. If you’re dealing with this kind of pain, we recommend visiting a spine specialist.

Common Causes of Severe Back and Neck Pain

Painful spinal conditions can be caused by sports-related injuries that involve twists or impacts, lifting heavy objects, falling down, poor posture or wear and tear. The good news is that many of the most common spine problems, both in the lower back and neck, are treatable. Here’s a look at some of the causes of lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) pain:

  • Herniated or Slipped Disc - Soft inner cartilage protrudes out of the disk that cushions vertebra
  • Spinal Stenosis - Narrowing of the spinal canal, where nerve roots are located
  • Spinal Cord Compression - A mass of tissue places pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord
  • Sciatica - Pain that courses through the sciatic nerve which runs from your lower back to legs
  • Fractures - Cracks in bone

Merit Health Wesley is committed to helping patients reduce pain, regain movement and get back to doing the things they enjoy.

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Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking special precautions to keep offices and other care environments safe for every patient. Learn more about the steps we are taking.