Dr. Ludwig examining a patient

Debilitating back and neck pain can slow you down and impact your quality of life. And while spine surgery can be a path to relief, the spine specialists of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health take a holistic approach.

Their comprehensive treatment plans take into account your health and lifestyle. We use innovative diagnostics to pinpoint the source of your pain then assess the best course of treatment including surgical and non-surgical options.

Our team, which includes specialists in orthopedics and neurosurgery, uses advanced diagnostic technology as well as old-fashioned listening to discover the cause of your spine pain, which could be caused by a number of underlying conditions.

Find a Spine Surgeon in Harford County

All our spine surgeons are now accepting new patients at these locations.

  • Orthopedic Spine Surgery - 800-515-0044 - on the campus of the UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UM UCMC) in Bel Air, convenient to imaging locations and rehabilitation program
  • Spinal Neurosurgery - 410-900-1900 - office at 206 S. Hays Street, Bel Air, MD 21014; procedures take place at UM UCMC

Back and Neck Pain Causes

We treat a wide range of spine conditions, including:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Spinal discs act as shock absorbers between the bones of your spine, keeping your back flexible. Degenerative disc disease occurs when your discs break down and are unable to protect your spine.

  • Cervical and lumbar disc disease causes lower back pain as the discs begin to break down from wear and tear.
  • Spinal stenosis is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal begins and pinch the spinal cord and the nerves around it, resulting in pain, weakness and numbness.
  • Herniated discs happen when the soft center of a spinal disc begins to push through the spinal cord, most often causing pain, weakness and numbness.
  • Spondylolisthesis, which is most common in athletes whose sport puts stress on the lower back, is when a vertebra slips out of place.

Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves can occur when surrounding tissues apply too much pressure to the nerve, causing pain, tingling, numbness and weakness.

  • Sciatica causes pain in the lower back that often radiates to the hip and leg due to pressure on the large sciatic nerve.
  • Cervical radiculopathy occurs when the nerve root in the cervical spine becomes pinched, inflamed or damaged.

Spinal Deformities

The term spinal deformity refers to conditions that cause an unnatural bend to the spinal column.

  • Scoliosis, most common in teenagers, is a curve in the spine that typically often occurs during the growth spurt of puberty. It can result in uneven shoulders and hips, tight muscles and pain.
  • Kyphosis is the outward curving of the spine, often related to osteoporosis, which leads to back pain and stiffness.

Types of Spine Surgery

If spine surgery is the right option for you, these are some of the more common procedures our surgeons use to treat debilitating back pain.

  • Spinal fusion joins two or more vertebrae. it is most often used for conditions such as scoliosis, spinal arthritis and herniated discs.
  • Lumbar decompression aims to improve pain and numbness in the legs caused by compressed nerves.
  • Disc replacement involves replacing worn disc material in the spine with a synthetic or "artificial" disc.

Other procedures that they might recommend include:

  • Spine laminectomy
  • Laminoforaminotomy
  • Bone graft alternatives
  • Laminoplasty

Non-Surgical Back Pain Treatment

Oftentimes, conservative treatments are the first-line approach to managing pain. These may include:

  • Medications such as muscle relaxants, NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen), steroids and opiate pain medications
  • Pain management
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy

Learn More About Back and Neck Pain

Learn more about spine care, technologies and treatments from our experts by listening to our Live Greater Podcasts