Dr. Andre Shaffer is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in surgical, procedural, and non-surgical management of spine, pelvis, and traumatic orthopedic conditions, including degenerative and deformity conditions of the spine and pelvis. When surgery is indicated, Dr. Shaffer emphasizes the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques in his spine and trauma practice.
Back Arthritis & Disc Herniations
Thoracic (middle back) arthritis and lumbar (lower back) disc herniations are some of the most common conditions or injuries treated by Dr. Shaffer. Simply put, the spinal column consists of the vertebrae (bones), discs, and soft tissue ligaments structures that house the spinal cord and exiting nerves. The nerves segmentally exit from the spinal cord and travel to specific parts of the arms, trunk, organs and legs to deliver muscle and organ signal function. The nerves also act to return sensation signals back to the spinal cord and brain. When the discs in the back are healthy, the nerves normally will have sufficient space to exit from and to re-enter the spinal column. This results in a normal, pain free muscle function with good endurance and power. When the discs are injured or degenerate, (i.e. a large / compressing disc bulge or disc herniation), they often constrict the nerves which results in pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, or even specific muscle weakness or clumsiness in the arms or legs.
Treatments for Disc Herniations
Fortunately, there are many treatments available for disc herniations or degeneration. Typically, non-surgical treatments will be recommended first. This management includes physical therapy, multi-modal, opioid-sparing pain medications, and sometimes injections. For some patients these treatments provide enough significant relief to resolve the problem. For some, surgical options must be considered. Surgical options include spinal decompression and for some even stabilization procedures such as disc replacements to fill the gap after disk removal. Contemporary management options are a safe and effective means for returning patients to active pain-free lifestyles.
Dr. Andre Shaffer is dedicated to helping people who are experiencing severe nerve pain and dysfunction. He will evaluate your specific condition, and if appropriate will next order any additional diagnostic testing needed (i.e. MRI’s or extremity nerve conduction testing). Dr. Shaffer then will review your imaging and correlate this with your specific clinical findings in order to thoroughly explain all available management options – both surgical and non-surgical. Dr. Shaffer’s main goal is to work with each patient to create a personalized treatment pathway that will quickly and efficiently improve your quality of life and overall health. This begins with you scheduling an appointment today.