Understanding the Conditions Treated by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Orthopedic spine surgeons are medical professionals specializing in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the spine. The spine is a complex and vital part of the human body, consisting of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves that support and facilitate movement. When problems arise within the spine, a Pittsburgh board certified orthopedic spine surgeon can offer expertise in managing various conditions such as spinal stenosis. Here are some conditions treated by an orthopedic spine surgeon.

Spinal disc herniation

Spinal disc herniation is a slipped disc that occurs when the soft cushion-like discs between the vertebrae rupture or bulge, putting pressure on the spinal nerves. This condition often leads to severe pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area. An orthopedic spine surgeon can diagnose the extent of the herniation through physical examinations and imaging tests. Treatment options may include conservative measures such as physical therapy and pain management techniques such as applying cold packs. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to alleviate the nerve pressure.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, leading to the compression of the spinal cord and nerves. This narrowing is often a result of age-related changes, such as the formation of bone spurs or thickened ligaments. Orthopedic spine surgeons can evaluate the severity of spinal stenosis through imaging studies and clinical assessments. Non-surgical treatments like medication, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections are the first line of treatment. However, surgical procedures such as laminectomy may be recommended in cases where symptoms persist or worsen to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. It can occur at any age stage, but its most commonly diagnosed during adolescence. Orthopedic spine surgeons are skilled in diagnosing and treating scoliosis, using various techniques such as physical examination and monitoring the progression of the curvature. Scoliosis treatment options depend on the curvature’s severity and the patient’s age. Mild cases can be managed through observation and bracing, while more severe cases may require surgical intervention, such as spinal fusion, to correct the curvature and prevent further progression.

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration of the spinal discs over time, leading to chronic pain and reduced mobility. Orthopedic spine surgeons can diagnose and manage this condition to evaluate the extent of disc degeneration. Treatment options for degenerative disc disease may include physical therapy and lifestyle modifications. Surgical procedures like artificial disc replacement may be considered when conservative measures fail to provide relief.

Spinal trauma

Orthopedic spine surgeons are also equipped to handle spinal trauma resulting from accidents or injuries. Spinal fractures, dislocations, and other traumatic injuries require immediate medical attention to prevent further damage and stabilize the spine. Orthopedic spine surgeons work alongside other medical professionals to assess the extent of the injury through imaging studies and clinical evaluations. Treatment options for spinal trauma can range from non-surgical measures such as bracing and physical therapy to surgical interventions like vertebroplasty, depending on the severity and nature of the injury.

Speak to your doctor at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center for a personalized orthopedic spine treatment plan.

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