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Back & Spine Care


Back pain is extremely prevalent and something that four out of five people will experience in their lives. It is the third leading cause of physician visits for patients over the age of 40. Our treatments are designed to relieve pain and get you back to your regular activities as quickly as possible.

The UNM Health System spine care team at Sandoval Regional Medical Center focuses on non-invasive approaches to treatment of a number of different spinal cord conditions. When surgery is necessary, our expert staff uses the latest techniques to ensure a speedy recovery.

Types of Back Issues We Treat

  • Degenerative pain – typically caused by the aging process
    • Mechanical pain – caused by wear and tear in the lumbar region
    • Neurogenic pain – caused by nerve injury
  • Herniated discs – occurs when the small, spongy discs that cushion the vertebrae bulge or break open due to degeneration, an accident/fall or a forceful twist of the back, causing pain, numbness and/or weakness
  • Athletic injuries (brachial plexus) – occurs when the brachial plexus (the bundle of nerves running from the cervical area through the clavicle and down the arm) is stretched
  • Scoliosis – a condition causing a sideways curvature of the spine, which typically develops during the growth spurt just before puberty but can also be caused by congenital malformations, neuromuscular disorders, injury, infection or tumors
  • Vertebral fractures

Spine conditions treated at SRMC:

  • Radiculopathy
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spondylosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain

Back and Spine Treatment Options

Although uncomfortable, most types of back pain are rarely indicative of a serious medical problem. Most patients recover within a few weeks and can even prevent future problems with proper treatment.

Lower Back Pain Treatment

Our main goal for lower back pain is to relieve the pain so you can return to a full schedule or former activities. Here are some options your physician may recommend:

  • A period of bed rest to take pressure off discs and nerves
  • A back brace to provide extra support for a period of time
  • Medications to help ease pain, reduce inflammation and prevent muscle spasms
  • Physical therapy and exercises to strengthen core muscles, improve posture and prevent future back pain
  • Spinal injections for long-term pain relief
  • Surgery is a final option for those who do not experience relief after three months from the conservative options listed above. It is also advised for those who experience bladder or bowel control issues due to the pain.

Herniated Disc Treatment

Most herniated discs are not severe enough to warrant surgery. Treatments usually involve a combination of medication and physical therapy. However, if a discectomy procedure shows the condition is bad enough, surgery may be recommended.

Brachial Plexus Treatment

These injuries tend to be quite painful, but they should resolve themselves with rest. Physical therapy may also help to restore full range of motion and nerve functionality.

Scoliosis Treatment

Most cases of scoliosis do not require extensive medical treatment. However, an orthopaedic specialist may recommend a brace or fusion surgery if the condition is bad enough. However, surgery is viewed only as a last resort and typically only in the most severe cases.

Vertebral Fractures Treatment

Patients can take medications to ease their pain, but many times fractures in the spine require a surgical procedure such as kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. Our spinal surgeons will determine what course of action is best based on exams and imaging (x-rays, MRIs, etc.).

Other Spinal Treatment

The spinal team at SRMC includes both neurosurgeons and physiatrists who collaborate to determine the best treatment options for each patient. Our physiatrists specialize in physical medicine, rehabilitation and non-narcotic pain medicine. Their non-surgical approach is based on treating the body’s musculoskeletal system to deal with disease and injury.

When surgery is necessary our neurosurgeons perform cutting-edge procedures including the endoscopically guided laser spine technique, which is minimally invasive and shortens recovery time with minimal scarring.

Schedule an appointment: (505) 272-4866

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