Alternatives to Surgery for Spine Conditions [Video]

Ask the Expert: Spine Video Series

About the video: Is surgery my only option for my spine condition?

Summit Orthopedics’ spine specialists Nicholas Wills, M.D., and Erik Ekstrom, M.D. share insights on non-surgical options for your spine condition.

Meet Nicholas Wills, M.D.

Dr. Wills’ approach: “I understand the concern of athletes to get back to their sport and working in combination with our therapists helps them there.”

Dr. Wills’ education: After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, Dr. Wills earned his medical degree and later completed his residency at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he went on to participate in the fellowship program at Twin Cities Spine Center.

Meet Erik Ekstrom, M.D.

Dr. Ekstrom’s approach: “I believe in listening to patients and making them feel comfortable. For me, the most gratifying part of the work is finding the problem and fixing it so patients can return to their usual activities.”

Dr. Ekstrom’s education: Dr. Ekstrom studied at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota as an undergraduate student, and after graduating he earned a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology degree at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud. Later he completed his medical degree and residency at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise

Summit Orthopedics’ Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.

Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

More resources for you

Video Transcription

Almost all spinal problems can be taken care of without surgery. Conservative treatment to the spine, which, incidentally, is almost always the way to go, are things like physical therapy, injections – called epidural steroid injections, or some people call them cortisone injections – time, different types of medications, anti-inflammatories, those are the most common nonoperative, or conservative therapies. I think that, especially over the last decade or so, the medical community has figured out that more likely than not, surgery is not going to be needed for most diagnoses that 10, 20 years ago were treated with surgery. Now with, again with advanced imaging, better knowledge with what the generators are in the spine, with diagnostic injections, perhaps even better rehab, we’re able to treat most people with a spine condition without surgery.

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  • Nicholas Wills MD

    Nicholas Wills, M.D.

    “I understand the concern of athletes to get back to their sport and working in combination with our therapists helps them there.”

    More about this expert

  • Erik Ekstrom

    Erik J. Ekstrom, M.D.

    “I believe in listening to patients and making them feel comfortable. For me, the most gratifying part of the work is finding the problem and fixing it so patients can return to their usual activities.”

    More about this expert

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