Spine Disorders

New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our team of experts works together to provide the most advanced and individualized care based on the latest research and guidelines.

Our multidisciplinary team approach gives patients with spine disorders access to all of our specialists with one call. We are committed to providing personalized care that meets each patient’s needs to help them get back to good health as soon as possible.

Advanced Treatment for Spine Disorders

The spine consists of 26 bones called vertebrae, which protect and support the spinal cord and nerves. A number of conditions and injuries can affect the spine, which can damage the vertebrae, cause pain, and limit mobility. 

Our neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physiatrists, pain physicians, psychologists, and other specialists have extensive experience in treating even the most complex spinal conditions, giving our patients access to an array of expertise to help improve their pain and quality of life.

Types of Spine Disorders

Numerous conditions can affect the spine anywhere from the neck to the lower back. Some of the many spine disorders we treat are: 

Degenerative spine and disc conditions:

Other spine conditions and disorders:

Causes of Spine Disorders

Spine disorders have a wide variety of causes depending on the particular condition. For some conditions, the causes are unknown. Common causes include:

  • Accidents or falls
  • Congenital disorders (present since birth)
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Inherited disorders
  • Injuries ranging from minor to traumatic
  • Degenerative wear and tear that comes with aging

Risk Factors for Spine Disorders

Factors that can increase the risk of developing a spine disorder include:

  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Improper lifting techniques
  • Nutrition and lifestyle habits such as sedentary lifestyle, low calcium intake, or smoking
  • Other conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disease
  • Overuse from exercise or occupational movement
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive strenuous activities

Symptoms of Spine Disorders

Signs and symptoms depend on the specific spine disorder and often affect other parts of the body, depending on the area of the spine or spinal cord that is affected. Common symptoms include:

·      Abnormally rounded shoulders or back

  • Back or neck pain that can be sharp and stabbing, dull and aching, or burning
  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pain radiating in the arms or legs
  • Stiffness or tightness
  • Uneven appearance, such as one shoulder or hip being higher than the other
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the arms or legs

Diagnosis of Spine Disorders

At UT Southwestern, our spine experts conduct a thorough evaluation, including:

  • Physical exam
  • Discussion of personal and family medical history
  • Discussion of symptoms and risk factors
  • Neurological exam, if a nerve injury or disorder is suspected

Depending on each patient’s individual case, our doctors might recommend one or more tests, such as:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnet to produce detailed images of the spine. MRI is useful in detecting injuries and disorders in soft tissue such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, spinal cord, and nerves.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: CT uses specialized X-rays with or without a contrast agent to produce cross-sectional, 3D images of the spine. CT provides images that are more detailed than plain X-rays for evaluating bone injuries or disorders.
  • X-ray: We use X-rays of the neck or different areas of the back to check for bone problems such as fractures, other injuries, and chronic disorders.
  • Biopsy: If cancer is suspected, our neurosurgeons can take a small tissue sample for analysis under a microscope.
  • Electromyography (EMG): Electrodiagnostic examinations measure electrical activity generated by muscles and nerves. They generally involve seeing how different parts of the body react to stimuli.

Treatment for Spine Disorders

Our spine specialists often use one or more treatments, depending on the specific condition or injury. Treatments we offer include:

  • Back bracing
  • Cancer treatment such as surgery to remove tumors, radiation therapy, radiosurgery, and chemotherapy
  • Ice or heat therapy for injuries
  • Injections, such as corticosteroids or nerve blocks, for pain
  • Medications such as anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, or muscle relaxers
  • Rehabilitation using physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the back and abdominal muscles
  • Surgery to replace discs, fuse (connect) vertebrae, open up the spinal canal, or repair nerves

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern conducts clinical trials aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of all types of spine disorders. Talk with our doctors to see if a clinical trial is available.

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Related Clinics

Showing 5 locations

Spine Center

at James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Center 5303 Harry Hines Blvd., 6th Floor, Suite 108
Dallas, Texas 75390
214-645-2225 Directions Parking Info

Spine Center

at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Las Colinas 701 Tuscan Drive, 1st Floor, Suite 145
Irving, Texas 75039
214-964-0670 Directions

Spine Center

at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Richardson/Plano 3030 Waterview Parkway, 1st Floor
Richardson, Texas 75080
972-669-7101 Directions

Spine Center

at UT Southwestern Frisco 12500 Dallas Parkway, 3rd Floor
Frisco, Texas 75033
469-604-9000 Directions