Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Foraminotomy?

A foraminotomy is a particular type of surgical procedure that may be used to treat foraminal spinal stenosis.

If the foramen (window) becomes clogged with debris, nerve roots may become irritated resulting in inflammation. The surgeon uses small tools to shave open the inside of the foramen increasing its size. Once the nerves have ample space, and compression has been eliminated, the inflammation and associated pain may diminish. The open windows allow the nerves exiting the spinal column to easily slip through the foramen.

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy means that a spinal nerve root in the neck is irritated and/or compressed. The spinal nerve roots are located in the spinal canal and the neuroforamen. The neuroforamen are small holes through which the spinal nerves exit the spinal column. Outside the spine these nerves branch off into other parts of the body forming the peripheral (outer) nervous system.

Nerve irritation may result from disc herniation, spinal stenosis, osteophyte formation or other degenerative disorders. Nerve irritation may cause sensory and/or motor abnormalities called neurologic deficit. Pain, tingling and numbness are examples of a sensory abnormality. Weakness and reflex loss are examples of a motor abnormality. Cervical radiculopathy may cause symptoms to appear in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.

What is a Spine Surgeon?

All orthopedic surgeons are also exposed to spine surgery during their four or five year training program. Some orthopedic residencies are at institutions where there are one or more orthopedic surgeons who specialize in spine surgery. At these institutions, orthopedic residents in-training may be exposed to a very high volume of spine surgeries.

Surgeons who wish to specialize in spine surgery and gain further training may pursue a post-graduate (after residency) fellowship in spine surgery.

Who Specializes in Pain Management?

A pain management specialist has specialized training in the control and management of pain. There is no specific medical field dedicated to pain management. Instead, specialized training and/or fellowships may be found within existing fields. Currently, pain management specialists are typically trained within the following disciplines.

  • Physiatry (also called Physical medicine and rehabilitation)
  • Anesthesiology
  • Interventional radiology
  • Physical therapy

Pain management techniques are varied, and may include physical therapy, non-invasive treatments that are pharmacological innature, and invasive treatments such as facet injection.

What is a Podiatrist?

Podiatry or podiatric medicine is a branch of medicine devoted to the study of, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. The term podiatry came into use in the early 20th century in the United States. Apodiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM); a specialist qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Within the field of podiatry, podiatric physicians can focus and specialize on different areas, including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, diabetes, orthopedics, or primary care

Podiatry is practiced as a specialty in many countries including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In many English-speaking countries, the older title of "chiropodist" may be used by some clinicians. The level and scope of the practice of podiatry varies among countries.

What is a Physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Established as a medical specialty in the 1940s, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is a discipline primarily concerned with acute and chronic problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The goal of the physiatrist is to restore function and relieve pain in patients with a variety of disorders using a non-surgical multidisciplinary treatment approach.

To become a physiatrist, individuals must successfully complete four years of graduate medical education and four additional years of postdoctoral residency training. Residency training includes one year spent developing fundamental medical or surgical clinical skills and three additional years of dedicated training in the full scope of the specialty.

There are currently 79 accredited residency programs in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the United States. Many physiatrists choose to pursue additional fellowship training in a specific area of the specialty. Fellowships are now available for specialized study in areas such as spine and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, pediatrics, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and sports medicine. To become board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, physiatrists are required to pass both a written and oral examination administered by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPM&R).

What is a Rheumatologist?

Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists. Rheumatologists deal mainly with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and heritable connective tissue disorders.

The term rheumatology originates from the Greek word rheuma, meaning "that which flows as a river or stream," and the suffix -logy, meaning "the study of."

Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty, with advancements owing largely to new scientific discoveries related to immunology of these disorders. Because characteristics of some rheumatological disorders are often best explained by immunology, pathogenesis of many major rheumatological disorders are now described in terms of the autoimmune system, i.e. as an autoimmune disease. Correspondingly, most new treatment modalities are also based on clinical research in immunology and the resulting improved understanding of the genetic basis of rheumatological disorders. Future treatment may include gene therapy as well. At present evidence-based medical treatment of rheumatological disorders has helped patients with rheumatism lead a near-normal life.

What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. It is generally categorized as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The degree that chiropractor earns is a D.C. which is a Doctor of Chiropractic. Accordingly, they are doctors. Although chiropractors have many attributes of primary care providers, chiropractic is generally more similar to a specualty as it is focused on the structure of the body.

More FAQ Articles on SouthPalm Ortho-Spine
It is not uncommon for patients with back or neck pain to need blood work or other test in a laboratory. Certainly, if you are being scheduled for spine surgery, it is important for your surgeon and his/her team to know ahead of time the results of different tests.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is one of our most sensitive and powerful diagnostic tools.This medical miracle was first used on humans in 1971.
Myelography is an imaging test performed using an injectable contrast material to evaluate the spinal cord, its protective outer membrane (meninges) and nerve roots. Myelography produces an image called a myelogram.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is type of diagnostic imaging. Unlike x-rays or computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans, an MRI does not use x-rays. It uses a powerful magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to produce very exact images of your internal organs, muscles, and bones. It is a valuable diagnostic tool.