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Millions of people suffer from back and neck pain, with ailments ranging from minor annoyances to major debilitating conditions. At least half of all Americans complain of lower back (lumbar) pain at some point in their lives, making it the second most common reason for a visit to a primary care physician and a leading cause of lost productivity. Spinal disorders can lead to nerve compression, causing numbness and/or weakness in the arms or legs.

At the Spine Centers of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, located at Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center, our team employs a comprehensive approach to the management of spinal disorders, offering nonsurgical and surgical treatment options to provide the most appropriate plan of care for each patient. Our multidisciplinary teams include neurosurgeons, neurologists, physiatrists, pain management specialists, physical therapists, and nurses. These specialists collaborate to provide personalized care, with a shared goal of helping patients regain function and return to their daily activities.

Eric Elowitz, M.D., a neurological surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian, and patient Noah Emmerich, discuss Noah's herniated disc surgery.

In most cases, nonsurgical options are the preferred form of initial treatment, and include therapies such as physical therapy, physiatry, and pain management. When nonsurgical treatments are unsuccessful for relieving a patient's symptoms, surgery becomes an option. Our teams of experienced spinal neurosurgeons are nationally recognized leaders with expertise in all areas of spinal surgery, ranging from minimally invasive procedures to complex spinal reconstructions. Patients whose conditions were considered too complex by other centers can often be treated by our neurosurgeons.

Patients who are candidates for less invasive surgery benefit from smaller incisions, less tissue damage, a shorter hospital stay, fewer postoperative infections, and a quicker recovery. Our surgeons use the latest computer-assisted navigational tools to localize specific areas of the spine, enabling them to insert screws or other devices with increased precision and optimize recovery for each patient.

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