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
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.
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, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
- Dr. Choi Explains Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Chronic Back Pain
- Ask Dr. Wills: What Questions Should I Ask My Spine Surgeon?
- Watch the video: Introducing Erik Ekstrom, M.D.
- How do Cortisone Shots work?
- Ask Dr. Santos: Tips for Fast Back Pain Relief
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.
Spine problems are about pain. Summit has long recognized the problem with controlling pain through opiate medications, and Dr. Wills discusses Summit’s strategy for managing back pain in safer ways.
Exercise is one of the best preventative measures we can take to maintain good health. Generally, exercise increases physical strength and improves longevity. Specific exercises can also address and improve many types of spine pain.
The decision to consider surgery is never made lightly at Summit Orthopedics. We provide patients with the information they need to make a well-informed decision, including videos to walk them through our personalized surgery and recovery experience.