About Panama City Spine

Medicine is becoming increasingly specialized all for the benefit of the patient. Recognizing that back and neck pain requires a specialized spine center approach, Dr. Michael Rohan launched Panama City Spine. The goal of Panama City Spine is to improve the care of those who suffer from back pain, neck pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, scoliosis or stenosis.

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Family practice physicians and chiropractors often refer patients who have exhausted non-surgical treatment options and need to learn their surgical options. This can include new techniques in spine surgery that reduce the length of the incision, or new artificial disc replacement surgery.

We emphasize non-surgical treatment options where possible, including therapy and spinal injections, Dr. Rohan explains. However sometimes symptoms can progress to radiating pain into an arm or leg. Other red flag symptoms include numbness or weakness in a leg or arm. If this type of neurological deficit is not treated promptly, these symptoms can become permanent.

Dr. Rohan notes that the spine center uses the newest minimally invasive spine surgery techniques and instrumentation. While this can involve more training to operate through a half-inch incision rather than an open 3-inch long incision, the benefits are huge for the patient, Dr. Rohan explains. A tiny incision means less disruption to muscles and ligaments and a quicker, less painful recovery. Consequently, most patients can have their spine surgery in the morning and be home later the same day to recover in the comfort of their own home. Also less blood loss eliminates the risk of having to use blood from a blook bank.

We recognized that for those in the gulf coast region, there is a need for a spine program that uses the newest minimally invasive instrumentation, explains Dr. Rohan. The savvy patient should look for this expertise. In the past, they had to drive 300 miles. Now it is close to where they live.

About the minimally invasive approach

In minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon inserts special surgical instruments through tiny incisions to access the damaged disc in the spine. Entry and repair to the damaged disc or vertebrae is achieved without harming nearby muscles and tissues.

Even instrumentation, screws and plates can often be inserted through smaller incisions.

An educated consumer

As a community service, the spine center distributes a free 36 page Home Remedy Book on back pain. Recognizing that the best quality healthcare comes from a well-informed health care consumer, Panama City Spine created this online encyclopedia about back and neck pain at PanamaCitySpine.com with symptom charts and stretches that can relieve symptoms. This educational Internet site on spine care is the most content-rich resource for any spine program in the State of Florida.

In addition, Panama City Spine produces a 16-page educational Back to Life Journal that provides home remedies for back pain, neck pain and other spine problems.

Dealing with back & neck pain

At some point in their lives, 80% of Americans will have an attack of back pain or neck pain. Worse, once you have your first back pain attack, you are four times more likely to have a recurrence. That's the bad news.

The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, back pain or neck pain symptoms will go away on their own in a week or so. Other times, when the pain symptoms persist for longer than a week, most of these cases will also improve with some customized stretches that restore movement to inflamed ligaments and muscles, anti-inflammatories or spinal injections that relieve pain long enough to get moving again.

The root issue, however, is that for common acute back pain symptoms that do not involve nerve damage (numbness, weakness or pain in an arm or leg) physicians don't know for sure which patients will respond to non-surgical treatment options, and which problems require more invasive treatment, such as spine surgery. Consequently, the best spine care exhausts non-surgical treatment options for back and neck pain before spine surgery is considered.

With back and neck pain so widespread, often those with back pain symptoms will make trips to multiple locations: a chiropractor office, to their family practice physician, who then refer the patient with persistent symptoms to a spine surgeon.

For the person with an aching back, the journey to multiple locations to suffer through a variety of conflicting opinions and treatment plans can be a major headache on top of a backache.

Unfortunately, there can be a lack of coordination among the different specialists treating back and neck conditions. Sadly, health insurance medical directors often complain that a single back pain patient can see 10 different doctors and receive 10 different diagnoses and 10 different treatment recommendations.

Because spine specialists are often spread across towns or regions, there is typically no communication between them about a specific patient. This means that a patient will often travel from doctors office to doctors office, having to start from scratch with his or her story to build a new medical chart from scratch.

Thirdly, because non-surgical treatment options are poorly designed, it predestines the patient to failure of conservative non-surgical care. And when non-surgical options fail, this forces the patient to resort to surgery, in many cases, unnecessarily. An unnecessary spine surgery can unfortunately just create a bigger nightmare for the person, as scarring around a nerve root from surgery can create failed back surgery syndrome, which is worse than any original pain symptom.

Panama City Spine emphasizes nonsurgical treatment options like spinal injections that can relieve the symptoms of a herniated or bulging disc. Through the use of an epidural steroid injection, the spine specialist is able to reduce inflammation around a nerve root. This in turn can relieve the symptoms of radiating pain into a leg or arm, or deficit (weakness or numbness in a hand or foot).

Panama City Spine is affiliated with spine specialized physical therapists that excel at treating back and neck pain. One of the only way to permanently relieve pain involves changing the physiology of the back by using exercise to make it stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury.

When spine surgery is necessary

When all nonsurgical treatment options fail to provide relief of symptoms, we emphasize minimally invasive spine surgery which shortens the incision, reduces time in the hospital, lessens pain during rehab, and speeds the return to activity and one's work.

Sometimes, spine surgery is the right treatment. This may occur because symptoms of radiating pain have not responded to non-surgical treatment options like injection therapy or customized spine physical therapy.

In other cases, some symptoms like weakness or numbness in a leg or hand, or loss of control of bowel or bladder, represent emergency symptoms where back or neck surgery must be done quickly to prevent permanent paralysis of the nerves that relate to these muscles or extremities.

Some procedures, such as the microdiscectomy, can be performed as an outpatient surgery where patients go home the very same day.

Treatment can include the following:

  • Cervical and Lumbar Radiculopathy (radiating pain into an arm or leg)
  • Spinal Deformity
  • Lumbar Degenerative Conditions (disc herniations)
  • Osteoporotic Fractures (fractures related to osteoporosis)
  • Scoliosis (Adult and Pediatric curvature of the spine)
  • Cervical Total Disc Arthroplasty (Artificial Disc Replacement in the neck)
  • Trauma (back or neck problems caused by slips, falls, accidents)
  • Tumors
  • Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal as a person ages)

Need an Appointment?

Dr. Michael Rohan, Jr. is fellowship-trained in spine surgery, the highest level of medical education in the U.S. Consequently, Panama City Spine is referred back and neck pain patients from across the Gulf Coast who can benefit from the most advanced minimally invasive spine surgery and artificial disc replacement surgery.

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