Below are commonly asked questions about Northside's Spine Center. To view the answer to any of the questions, click on the question to jump to the answer.
The Northside Hospital Spine Center was created to allow patients to receive spine care without having to go directly to the surgeon. We will sit down with you and discuss your condition in detail (a "history"). Next, we will perform a comprehensive physical examination of your spine and recommend appropriate diagnostic studies and treatment options. Only about 10% of our patients require surgical intervention, while approximately 1/3 of our patients require pain interventions such as injections.
We treat new onset symptoms and undiagnosed spine complaints. We may also provide additional opinions on spine care that has been recommended.
Any recent MRI, CT or X-rays that have been done. Please bring the CD or actual films with you. Any medical records that you can easily obtain that list prior spine surgeries, injections, etc. And, of course, please bring your insurance card.
An MRI is performed only if necessary. An MRI is a test. It is very good at viewing nerves, discs, joints and bones of the spine. An MRI is recommended only after a history and physical examination and as appropriate.
Only if absolutely necessary, typically not. No radiation is involved, but still not generally recommended. If a condition is life- or limb-threatening, MRI may be performed.
Because radiation is involved, almost always, no.
No, the surgeon will see you in consultation to discuss options that may include surgery.
We use multiple therapeutic modalities that may include oral or injectable steroids. Steroids may be taken by mouth, injected into a muscle or injected into a joint or epidural space (around the nerves).
Everyone is different. Some people get complete relief with one injection. Others require 2 or 3 injections to achieve full benefit. Some patients receive very little benefit and may require surgical intervention for their condition.
Physical therapy is functional assessment of your condition followed by direct intervention. The intervention may include stretching or strengthening exercises, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or traction. Therapists are highly trained to provide detailed interventions for your specific condition.
Traction can be applied to the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine. Both approaches "pull" on the spine to give the nerves more room to function.
Spine degeneration is part of the normal aging process, but pain is not. Pain can come from arthritis of the spine. Pain can also come from compression of the nerves by discs or bone spurs.
If there is significant pressure on the nerves or spinal cord, delaying surgery can result in permanent loss of function. Sometimes, even with severe pressure on the nerves, conservative options may be tried first.
Spine surgery is very successful if done for the right reasons. You should try all conservative measures available before considering surgery. This is, of course, unless there is severe compromise or pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. There are many types of spine surgery, depending on the condition being treated. If you need surgery, we will recommend the most minimally invasive surgery for your condition.
Spine surgery is very safe. The risk of complications is extremely small. Complications can occur with any medical procedure. Because there are many types of spine surgery, it's best to speak to the surgeon regarding the risk of complication for your specific surgery.
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Appointments: (404) 459-1809
Patients will be seen in 24-48 hours whenever possible
Medical Tower at
5670 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30342
Northside Hospital -
Medical Office Building
1100 Northside-Forsyth Dr.
Cumming, GA 30041
Phone: (770) 844-3200