HEALTH & FITNESS - Providence St. Mary opens spine center

The center, the first of its kind in Walla Walla, will provide diagnosis and treatment.

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Providence St. Mary Medical Center has launched Walla Walla's first spine center. The center will provide diagnosis and treatment of neck and back pain and disorders.

Many can gain significant relief without surgery through treatments that may include physical and rehabilitation therapy, pain relieving injections and non-narcotic medications, noted Kathleen Obenland, director of public relations at the hospital.

However, for those who do need surgery, the new facility provides minimally invasive techniques, advanced fusion grafting and artificial disc replacement. The advanced techniques allow more people to be successfully treated, including some who previously were not good candidates for spinal surgery, Obenland said.

"The minimally invasive procedures allow safer surgeries with far less blood loss and less pain," said Dr. Nicolas Arredondo, a neurosurgeon at St. Mary. "The techniques also are more robust than even five years ago. We have a deeper understanding of spinal disease. Success rates are higher."

For the patient, these techniques translate to less time in the hospital (many can return home the same day), faster recovery times and the greatest opportunity for success.

Center staffing will include multiple disciplines, including neurology, intervential physiatry, rehabilitation therapy and pain relief.

Appointments with physicians in the Spine Center are through referral from patients' primary care physicians.





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