Spinal Conditions

More than 80% of Americans will experience episodes of back and neck pain in their lifetime. Each year, thousands of patients seek spine consultation at Ortho Montana for nonsurgical and surgical treatment of:

  • Degenerative spine conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis
  • Traumatic injuries such as spinal fractures and disc herniations
  • Developmental conditions like scoliosis and kyphosis
  • Spinal cysts and tumors

The spine surgeons at Ortho Montana understand that back and neck pain can upset a patient’s entire life. Often, these episodes can be treated with conservative measures such as rest, therapies, activity modification, or injections. However, when the symptoms are severe, cause a deficit in function, or when all other options have been exhausted, surgery may be recommended. The spine team at OM is here to help navigate your course of treatment.  

Our goal at Ortho Montana

The goal of surgical intervention at Ortho Montana is to get you back on your feet and enjoying an active lifestyle as soon as possible through the most minimally invasive surgeries and evidence-based medicine. With minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), our surgeons use high-powered microscopes to operate through small incisions, minimizing trauma to the surrounding tissue. MISS allows for more precise intervention, reduced post-operative pain, faster recovery, and decreased scarring than traditional surgery. In fact, 4 out of 5 of our surgical patients are able to return home on the same day!  

Back and neck pain can be caused by a number of spine conditions. In some cases, nonsurgical treatment may help patients manage neck or back pain.

However, if pain persists with nonsurgical treatment or symptoms progress, surgical intervention may be recommended.

Sciatica/Disc Herniation

Sciatica is a condition in which pain in the lower back radiates to the legs. It can also cause weakness, numbness, burning, or tingling down the legs. A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica.

A disc is herniated when its gel-like center pushes through the thick outer layer of the disc. It is often caused by wear and tear on the disc over time, but can also occur due to excessive pressure on the disc. In rare cases, a herniated disc can cause loss of bladder or bowel control, requiring immediate medical attention.

Herniated discs and sciatica can often be treated with nonsurgical methods, but surgical options are available if sciatica symptoms do not improve with nonsurgical treatment. Surgical options for herniated disc may include decompression or fusion procedures.

Lumbar Spine Surgery

The lumbar spine refers to the portion of the spine in the lower back. The goal of lumbar spine surgery is generally to relieve pain caused by a compressed nerve root, or to relieve pain and disability caused by degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. There are two main types of lumbar spine surgery: decompression and fusion.

Decompression is often recommended for patients with a herniated disc or spinal stenosis in the lower back. During this procedure, a small portion of bone and/or disc material are removed in the area surrounding the pinched nerve to relieve pressure.

A fusion procedure involves removing the disc material at a painful segment of the spine, then fusing the two vertebrae together with a bone graft. This procedure allows for pain relief and greater stability.

Cervical Spine Surgery/Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy, more commonly known as a pinched nerve in the neck, is a common cause of neck pain. Pain typically radiates to the shoulder and may extend all the way down the arm and hand. This condition occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches out from the spine.

Pinched nerves can often be treated with nonsurgical methods. However, if this condition leads to severe tingling, numbness, or weakness in the shoulder, arm, and/or hand, surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatment often involves removing bone or soft tissue, such as disc material, to relieve pressure on the nerve. Sometimes, the vertebrae may be fused together to stabilize the spine.

Kyphoplasty for Compression Fractures

Compression fractures are most common in patients with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis weakens bone, which can cause the vertebrae in the spine to crack and lose height over time. These fractures can lead to back pain, particularly near the area of the fracture.

In some cases, compression fractures can be treated with rest, medications, and/or bracing. However, if pain persists, a kyphoplasty procedure may be recommended. During this procedure, x-ray guidance is used to insert a needle into the fractured vertebra. A small balloon tamp is then passed through the needle into the space in the vertebra and inflated to restore the vertebra to the proper height and shape. The balloon tamp is then removed, leaving behind a space that is filled with bone cement. The bone cement holds the vertebra in the proper position as it heals.

Thoracic Spine Surgery

The thoracic spine is upper-middle portion of the spine. While spine conditions commonly occur in the lower back and neck, there are a number of conditions that can affect the thoracic spine. These conditions include herniated disc, joint dysfunction, degenerative disc disease, compression fractures, scoliosis, and kyphosis.

Thoracic spine surgery may be recommended for these conditions if nonsurgical treatment does not relieve symptoms, or if tingling, numbness, or weakness is present in one or both of the legs.


During a laminectomy, the back part of the vertebra (called the lamina) is removed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Laminectomy is often used to treat spinal stenosis, herniated disc, or other conditions that can put pressure on the spine and nerves. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as “decompression surgery.”

In some cases, laminectomy may be performed along with other procedures, such as a discectomy or fusion procedure.