Treatment at the SpineCare Clinic is tailored to meet your individual needs. The initial evaluation is done by a team of professionals including a physical medicine and rehabilitation expert (physiatrist), a chiropractor and a physical therapist. As part of our successful approach, we rely on clinical pathways – a specific timeline and sequence of transdisciplinary interventions – to help achieve the best possible outcomes.

After your initial evaluation, you are placed in a program based on your individual needs. We are continually looking for ways to optimize both your access to care and your recovery. Our programs are designed to deliver treatment efficiently and effectively. 

You’ll find fast, flexible access to care, whether through a referral from your doctor, through your own direct access to a spine surgeon or one of our other medical or chiropractors. Our providers are uniquely cross-trained to recognize and treat multiple conditions, which means we can get you up and moving again more quickly than other providers.

We are dedicated to educating and empowering our patients. Read more about our team members, the types of spine disorders we care for and general advice to those suffering from pain. 

Diagnosing Cause of Back Pain

Electrodiagnostic testing may be used to test nerve or muscle function to help determine a cause for extremity pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. 

Spinal Injections

Spinal injections, which deliver medication to help reduce inflammation and pain, can help manage pain in appropriate patients. They are performed by fellowship-trained physiatrists and are completed in conjunction with a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

Injections and Surgical Treatment

When other treatment options have failed, some patients may require surgery. If that becomes the case, the patient will be referred to an appropriate spine surgeon. Learn more about spine surgery and what to expect if surgery is part of your treatment plan by taking the spine surgery online patient education module.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure which removes pathology and stabilizes the spine using hardware and/or bone grafts. The procedure takes approximately two to eight hours, depending upon how extensive the surgery is. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by an orthopedic surgeon, or a neurosurgeon.

Robot-Assisted Spine Surgery

Marjorie Wang, MD, neurosurgeon, performs robotic spine surgery.

Robot-assisted spine surgery is an enhancement of traditional spine surgery. The surgeon uses the robot to gain a better understanding of the patient's spinal anatomy and the issues that need addressing. The robot allows for precise targeting and a greater range of motion when operating — and gives the surgeon a "third arm" to use so that we only treat the areas that need it. The precision and accuracy associated with robotic spine surgery can also allow for smaller incisions and less blood loss than traditional spine surgery.

First introduced in 2004, there are constant advances in the technology with the robots getting smaller and more precise. Froedtert & MCW surgeons began using the current technology in 2020.

Who Is a Candidate

In most cases, we start by treating your back pain with noninvasive methods — medication, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. When those don't provide relief, we look to surgery.

Your surgeon will work with you to determine the best surgery for your condition and personal circumstances. At this time, we use robot-assisted surgery most often in spinal fusion procedures. It can be used on all areas of the spine — cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar (lower back).

Robotic spine surgery carries the same risks as traditional spine surgery, with no additional recovery time or restrictions. Since there is greater accuracy, the incisions can be smaller. Smaller incisions have less blood loss, lower the risk of infection and cause less pain.

Alternative Treatments

Dr. Nelson with Patient imageIn some cases, people with chronic pain or other conditions may benefit from other types of treatment, and appropriate recommendations would be made for those patients.

Rehabilitation Therapy Services

Physical therapy and occupational therapy work together to provide individual, cost effective, evidenced-based treatment.

The physical therapist evaluates and develops an individualized program, with a strong educational foundation, to give you the tools to manage your spine disorder on a long term basis. The physical therapist combines treatment to reduce pain and improve function, through the use of pain reduction techniques, instruction in proper posture, body mechanics and spine strengthening exercises. This will facilitate your quick, safe return to an active lifestyle.

The occupational therapist works closely with the physical therapist and will identify home or work activities that may increase your risk for spine injury. The occupational therapist will then instruct you in techniques to modify the identified high demand activities specific to your lifestyle to help you reduce pain and injury. 

Benefits of Walking

Benefits of WalkingThirty minutes of walking, four days per week, benefits your health.

  • Reduces low back pain and decreases the need for pain medication.
  • Reduces frequency and severity of headaches.
  • Helps decrease knee pain due to arthritis.
  • Enhances quality of life.

Talk to your SpineCare team about how to implement regular walking into your life.

Onsite Ergonomic Evaluation

SpineCare is dedicated to working closely with businesses to help them find ways to control costs associated with employees' spine problems and other health-related issues. Our SpineCare occupational therapist, who is a certified ergonomic evaluation specialist, can provide onsite job evaluations to help employees return to work safely and help employers prevent workplace injuries. 

Second Opinion Program

If you’ve been diagnosed with a spine condition, especially one for which surgery has been recommended, you owe it to yourself to visit the Froedtert & MCW SpineCare Second Opinion Program. To schedule an evaluation or contact us with any questions you may have, call us at 414-955-7199.

Educational Programs

Train-the-Trainer Program

This educational program is designed to help business owners develop and implement an ongoing safety program within their company. Lead staff are trained to identify and assist management in modifying work environment situations and physical behaviors of staff-level employees to prevent injuries in the workplace. The emphasis is placed on personal responsibility and working safely together as a team.

Fast-Track Program

This is a brief, physical therapy directed program, which may also include chiropractic treatment, for people with a first episode of neck or back pain. This educationally based program includes instruction on spine protection techniques while promoting a spine friendly exercise regime.