Spine care

Find relief from back or neck pain with personalized, nonsurgical and surgical treatments from expert spine specialists.

Spine care

Find relief from back or neck pain with personalized, nonsurgical and surgical treatments from expert spine specialists.

    Spine care at UW Medicine

    Even minor spine problems can leave you sore, stiff and unable to enjoy life as you usually would. From common conditions to the most complex spine disorders, UW Medicine spine experts offer a variety of treatment options to help you achieve a better quality of life.

    We’ve got your back

    At UW Medicine, we take a personalized approach to planning your care. You can expect us to: 

    • Match you with the spine experts that are right for you 
    • Take the time to listen and answer questions 
    • Thoroughly investigate the cause of your symptoms 
    • Partner with you to develop a care plan tailored to your needs

    Anatomy of the spine

    Your spine consists of bones, muscles, ligaments and nerves. Your spine is your main support structure that helps your body move and function. The five sections of the spine are:

    • Cervical – Neck region of the spine
    • Thoracic – Upper to middle back region of the spine
    • Lumbar – Lower back region of the spine
    • Sacrum – Region of the spine below the lumbar
    • Coccyx – Bottom/tailbone region of the spine

    Spine conditions we treat

    • Arthritis of the spine (degenerative arthritis of the spine)
    • Back pain and neck pain
    • Degenerative disc disease, spondylosis
    • Disc herniation (including bulging, protruding and extrusions)
    • Fractures of the spine (including compression fractures)
    • Infections of the spine
    • Neurogenic claudication, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve canal)
    • Sciatica, radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
    • Scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis and spine deformity (abnormal curves of the spine)
    • Spine instability and trauma
    • Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae)
    • Sports injuries
    • Sprains and strains (soft tissue pain)
    • Tumors and cysts of the spine

    Your multidisciplinary spine care team

    Your care team at UW Medicine may include one or a variety of specialists, such as: 

    Your dedicated care team will help you return to activities you love. Rely on us to work together to ensure your care is effective and your experience feels seamless, even as your needs may change. 

    Meet our featured spine doctors


    Mahesh Karandikar, MD

    Dr. Karandikar is a neurological spine surgeon and expert in degenerative spinal procedures.


    Viral R. Patel, MD

    Dr. Patel is an orthopedic spine surgeon and expert in spine arthritis and deformities.


    Sean Matsuwaka, MD

    Dr. Matsuwaka is a physiatrist, also known as a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. He specializes in non-operative spine treatments.

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    See all spine doctors

    Nonsurgical spine treatments

    Most back and neck problems can be treated without surgery. Our physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors) will suggest the least invasive options first and encourage you to take an active role in your recovery. Just as professional sports teams rely on our doctors to keep them in the game, you can trust the team at UW Medicine to help you return to activities you love as quickly and safely as possible. 

    Your treatment plan may include therapies such as: 

    • Physical therapy 
    • Prescribed exercise programs 
    • Medications 
    • Pain coping strategies  
    • Acupuncture or other holistic therapies 
    • Spine injections 

    Nonsurgical spine care to restore your back

    Surgical spine treatments

    When nonsurgical therapies cannot relieve your pain, UW Medicine also offers surgical treatments from a team of expert spine surgeons. We have advanced training and experience in procedures that range from minimally invasive spine surgery, including endoscopic spine surgery, to complex surgeries and fusions of all types.

    Our surgeons are here to help throughout your treatment and beyond.


    Spine surgeons and clinics with personalized options

    Wellness and care resources


    How to improve your posture and why you should

    Slouching, or having bad posture, can have negative short- and long-term impacts on your spine.


    Learn about low back pain

    While most low back pain (often called lower back pain) improves on its own, knowing how to relieve pain and when to talk to a specialist is important.


    Exercises that help back pain

    Learn a few tips to avoid back pain and exercises that can help you recover.

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