menubarKalispell Regional Medical Center

Kalispell Regional Medical Center

Comprehensive Spine Program

Neuroscience and Spine Institute
Spine and Peripheral Nerve Conditions
As part of Kalispell Regional Medical Center, The Neuroscience & Spine Institute and the Montana Center for Wellness & Pain Management, partner to operate The Comprehensive Spine Program.  Our program treats all types of neck, back, spine & spine-related disorders.  From minor to the most complex of spine disorders, our expert providers are able to evaluate and treat a full spectrum of spinal deformities and disease.

Our team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, pain specialists and physiatrists, work together as a multidisciplinary team, to develop the most accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for our patients.  We use state-of-the art technology and cutting edge treatments to provide a personalized experience, and exceptional medical care for our patients.
The Comprehensive Spine Program is dedicated to helping patients of all ages with a variety of spinal conditions, lead pain-free and active lifestyles.  Our goal is to provide our patients with the information and options they need, to be involved in their own care and recovery.  We emphasize the education and involvement of our patients in an effort to optimize their path to improved health and quality of life.

Back pain – Back pain remains one of the most common reasons for patients to visit a healthcare provider.  When a patient's symptoms of back pain do not easily resolve or require specialist care, they come to The Comprehensive Spine Program.  Here, we utilize state-of-the-art imaging and clinical expertise to accurately assess, diagnose & treat our patients.  Our goal is always to provide the best treatment options available to restore optimal function for our patients.  The Comprehensive Spine Program includes experts in the field of neurosurgery and physical medicine & rehabilitation, to provide a full spectrum of care that utilizes traditional and non-traditional methods of helping to restore patients’ function and quality of life.

Neck Pain - Just like back pain, neck pain can be caused by multiple factors.  Often caused by aging or trauma, neck pain can interfere with work, sleep and the usual daily activities we take for granted.  Our dedicated team at The Comprehensive Spine Program treats a variety of spine conditions.  Whether your problem is new or has been present for a long time, we work with each patient to accurately diagnose and develop ideal treatment options.  Our experts are ready to help you reduce your pain and return you to an active lifestyle.

Disc Herniation - Disc herniations occur when the disc that functions as a shock absorber between your vertebrae, is disrupted by the constant wear and tear of aging, or more acute stresses upon the disc.  The discs have two main components:  the inner portion, called the nucleus and the outer portion, called the annulus.  The discs function much like the tires on your car.  The air cushions the car, but is held in by the tires.  The inner nucleus is like the air.  It cushions the vertebrae and is held in by the annulus—just like your tires.  As we age, the discs lose water content and tend to lose their ability to cushion the spine.  As they wear out, the annulus will weaken just like a bulge in a tire.  As it progresses, it may herniate or “blow out” just like a tire will do as it wears out.  The annulus will tear and the nucleus will protrude through this area.  When this happens, disc material may press on a nerve which can lead to pain in an extremity such as the arm or leg depending on where the injury occurs.  This may also lead to more concerning neurologic problems, which your provider will recognize and instruct you on appropriate treatment.  

Degenerative Disc Disease – As we age, the joints of our bodies tend to show their wear and tear with arthritis.  The discs that cushion our vertebrae in our spines undergo similar degradation.  The discs lose their support and ability to cushion the spine.  When they do, they flatten and degenerate.  This change can often be accompanied by disc bulging, bone spurs and arthritis that can then compress nerves leading to numbness, pain or weakness.  

Spinal Stenosis – Stenosis is the medical term that describes “narrowing.”  Our nerves travel through our spine to supply electrical signals to our organs, muscles & skin.  When the openings or pathways for these nerves become narrowed within the spine due to degenerative changes, the term stenosis is used to describe these findings.  Spinal stenosis can only be found by imaging the spine—often using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can provide greater detail than x-ray alone.  Depending upon the severity of the stenosis, your provider may prescribe physical therapy, medications, medicine injected into the spine, surgery or other alternative treatments.

Scoliosis – Scoliosis refers to an abnormal curvature of the spine which occurs in a side-to-side orientation.  Scoliosis often occurs in young people as their bones begin to grow and mature.  In this instance, it is referred to as idiopathic adolescent scoliosis.  In older adults, scoliosis can occur from degeneration of the discs and joints that help stabilize the spine.  In either occurrence, scoliosis may lead to deformity, back pain, balance difficulties, breathing problems and other issues related to the abnormal curvature.  Depending upon the severity of the curvature and the effects, various treatments may be offered to help reduce the progression of the disease, or interventions designed to correct the deformity.

Spinal Fracture & Trauma - In our region, spine trauma is common.  Whether it is a fall on the ice or an accident on the slopes, many people suffer traumatic injury to their spine.  Frequently, this results in fractures of the vertebrae in the spine which can lead to further neurologic symptoms, pain and instability of the spine.  Our spine team offers the full spectrum of non- operative and operative treatments available to address all types of spinal trauma. 

Spinal Cord Injury – Spine trauma can result in temporary or permanent neurological injury to the spinal cord.  An extension of our brains, the spinal cord is the pathway for signals from the brain to travel to the rest of our bodies.  It is essential in allowing many of our muscles and organs to function properly.  When injured, these essential pathways can be disrupted, resulting in weakness, paralysis or other dysfunction.  Sometimes, emergent surgical intervention is warranted.  When this occurs, we recommend the complete spectrum of surgical interventions needed to bring about the best results for our patients.  In addition, we offer a rehabilitation team of specialists in spinal cord injury to help our patients and their families adjust to the changes that can come with debilitating injuries such as this.  

Myelopathy - This term refers to inflammation and irritation of the spinal cord.  Myelopathy can occur due to disc herniations, severe degenerative disc disease, and other mechanical compression of the spinal cord.  When this occurs, the spinal cord may develop inflammation or injury that can lead to neurological dysfunction.  This can represent an urgent surgical condition to prevent further nerve injury.  This may present as muscle weakness, difficulty walking, changes in handwriting, trouble holding on to objects, falls, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.  This is diagnosed by careful physical examination and often with MRI imaging.   

Chiari Malformation – Chiari Malformation is a condition where the brain tissue near the base of the skull can extend into the spinal canal.  In many people this can be an incidental finding on imaging of the brain and spinal cord.  However, in a subset of the population, this can manifest with neurological findings that do not respond to conservative treatments.  In these instances, surgery may be the only option to alleviate the patient’s symptoms.  Our surgeons have an extensive breadth of experience in treating this condition and can offer sound advice on the best approach to treatment.  

For further questions on The Comprehensive Spine Program, of any of the spine team providers, please contact, the Neuroscience & Spine Institute: 406-752-5170