Missoula Bone and Joint and Surgery Center

Spine & SI Joint

At Missoula Bone & Joint in western Montana, spine surgeon Dr. Michael Woods specializes in diagnosing and treating spine-related conditions that may be causing you back pain. Dr. Woods understands how this pain can limit your activities and decrease your quality of life, and his goal is to relieve your pain and restore your mobility so you can enjoy life again. 

Understanding the Spine

The spine is an intricate and fragile structure. It is comprised of 25 joints that connect to 33 individual bones called vertebrae. There are 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, 12 thoracic (mid-back) vertebrae, and 5 lumbar (low back) vertebrae. The rest of the lower vertebrae in the spine are fused together: 5 of them form the sacrum within the pelvis, while the last 4 form the tailbone (coccyx).

You also have two sacroiliac (SI) joints, one on each side of the sacrum. Reinforced by strong surrounding ligaments, these weight-bearing joints connect the sacrum and pelvis. Dr. Woods has a special interest and expertise in treating the SI joint. Learn more about SI joint pain.

In between each vertebra is a disc made of cartilage. These intervertebral discs are shock-absorbing cushions that prevent the vertebrae from wearing against each other. A network of muscles and ligaments surround and support the spine.

In a healthy back, the joints work together and permit multiple degrees of motion. If any part of the spine is compromised by damage or disease, abnormal or excessive motion of the back may result in pain. Some of the many conditions that can affect the vertebrae, discs, or joints include:

After a thorough examination and review of your medical history, Dr. Woods will discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. Back pain can often be treated without surgery. If Dr. Woods feels that surgery is necessary to relieve your pain, you can be confident that he has many years of experience performing spine surgery. Plus, many procedures can now be performed using a minimally invasive approach. Some of the most common spine procedures Dr. Woods performs include:

For your convenience we provide x-ray, MRI and physical therapy in one location.

Is back pain interfering with your life? Contact MBJ at (406) 721-4436 to visit Dr. Woods or use our online form to request an appointment.

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