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Complex Spinal Disorders


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Complex spinal disorders are conditions that change the spine’s structure and stability. They affect the bones (vertebrae), and spongy discs between the vertebrae, joints, and soft tissues. They can involve the lumbar (low back), thoracic (upper back), and cervical (neck) spine.

Complex spinal disorders cause pain and can affect how you walk, your balance and coordination, breathing, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. Complex spinal disorders are caused by:

  • Infections: in the spine or fluid surrounding the spinal cord
  • Fractures: vertebrae compression fractures or joint dislocation
  • Tumors: cancerous or non-cancerous
  • Herniated disc: discs between the vertebrae rupture, protrude, or bulge out
  • Degenerative disc disease: discs between the vertebrae break down due to aging, stress, or normal “wear and tear”
  • Spondylosis: cartilage in the joints and vertebrae wear out abnormally
  • Spondylolisthesis: a vertebra slips or slides over another
  • Curvature deformities: kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosis: spinal canal narrows around the spinal cord
  • Having multiple spine conditions

The University of Miami Health System offers the latest in minimally invasive and non-surgical therapies for pain caused by complex spinal disorders. Make an appointment with a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor) today.


During this test, you will receive an injection of saline into your disc(s) under image-guidance, either using CT or fluoroscopy (dynamic X-ray) technology. This is done to provoke any pain and/or abnormal response. It can show abnormal nerve pathways generating pain inside the injured/degenerated disc.

Electroneurophysiological testing is done with current and electrodes to determine nerve and muscle function/dysfunction and damage. Tests include electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).


Neurostimulation, also called electrical stimulation, uses low-voltage electricity to stop the nerve impulses that cause pain. Examples include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), applied on the skin over nerve endings, and spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which is inserted under the skin.

Interventional spine procedures
These procedures use image-guided technology to deliver steroids and medications right to the pain source. Selective epidural injections, cervical facet injections, cervical selective nerve blocks, and discograms reduce pain and inflammation in the neck. This treatment is usually prescribed with physical therapy or exercise.

Ultrasound-guided injections
Ultrasound imaging allows doctors to view nerves, bones, tendons, and muscles. Combining this technology with injection therapy means we can deliver medicines to the exact trigger point to relieve pain and inflammation. Steroids and platelet-rich plasma injections are commonly used to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain.

Radiofrequency ablation
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat from radio waves to damage nerve tissues, disrupting their ability to send pain signals. This is performed on the facet joints in the spine.

Spasticity management
Therapies for spasticity relax muscle tightness and stiffness with medicines. Therapies include targeted botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for specific muscles, and intrathecal baclofen pumps that deliver medicine to the spinal fluid.

Why Choose UHealth?

Internationally-recognized Spine Institute in South Florida. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is part of the renowned Spine Institute where research breakthroughs in complex spinal disorders bring you the most advanced care possible.

Multispecialty care with teams built around your condition. Our rehabilitation team works closely with orthopedic specialists and surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and others to customize your treatment plan. You get a faster diagnosis and better care when we’re all working together for you.

Leading-edge, non-surgical and minimally invasive therapies for pain. You have access to the latest approaches to managing pain, including neurostimulation and selective nerve block epidural and other targeted spinal injections — in a variety inpatient (hospital stay) and outpatient (clinic) rehabilitation locations close to home.

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