• 401-457-1500
  • Saturday Sports Clinic Appointments
    (8 AM Ė 1 PM) Call 401-443-4240
  • Patient Portal Login
  • Find a Physician

The Spine Center at University Orthopedics includes a team of physicians, nurse practitioners and physical therapists working together to provide comprehensive treatment of spinal disorders in adults and children. Our clinical team has specialized expertise in the management of spinal pain, disc herniations, stenosis, tumors, trauma and scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine). Our spine specialists at University Orthopedics include:

Download a Capabilities Overview
on University Orthopedics Spine

To make an appointment with the University Orthopedics Spine Center, please call (401) 402-1030.

Improving care of back & neck pain with a team of complementary specialists, outcomes tracking & an informed patient

Four out of five Americans will have an attack of back pain during their lifetime. Research studies document that 33% of on-the-job injuries relate to back or neck pain. It is the second-most common reason for days off work behind the common cold. In the United States, $50 billion is spent annually on the management of back pain. Many of these unproven treatments (e.g. belts, magnets, etc..) are a waste of time and money.

A work in progress

The good news is that 80% of the time, a simple episode of back and neck pain will go away on its own. The bad news is that the other 20% of people may have a more serious spine problem such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. For these individuals the symptoms can go on for years and may produce permanent disability.

Even a simple muscle strain can plague a person for life. That’s because once you have your first back pain attack, you are four times more likely to have a recurrence. This can happen because many patients don’t address the underlying cause of back or neck pain, which can include lifting something too heavy, or lifting it incorrectly, or having a back that is not flexible and not strong enough to resist strain.

spine center rhode island, spine surgeon rhode islandThe spine center approach to back and neck pain

Recognizing the national trend toward a Center of Excellence approach for complex health problems, University Orthopedics takes a “spine center approach” to back and neck pain. This includes a team composed of four fellowship-trained spine surgeons, along with an occupational health physician, a nurse practitioner and physical therapists who specialize in the nonsurgical management of back and neck pain.

The University Orthopedics Spine Center is a work in progress. We continue to expand our clinical team in order to meet the needs of our patients with spinal problems. In the coming years, we will be adding additional nonoperative care specialists with expertise in musculoskeletal disorders and pain management. We have begun the process of tracking clinical results and will soon be able to publish a clinical outcome report for employers and health insurance providers.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a Center of Excellence for spine care in the Rhode Island region. We already receive referrals from across Southern New England. These patients with spinal problems travel great distances to University Orthopedics in search of pain relief and for help in getting their lives back.

Multidisciplinary, team approach

The problem with spine care is that care is highly fragmented. Too many times, the patient receives a treatment recommendation that is biased to the type of physician providing the treatment. Patients, employers and health insurance companies desire and deserve a team of clinicians (non-surgeons, physical therapists and surgeons) working together under one roof. We have installed a spine center approach where patients exhaust their non-surgical options before surgery is considered.

Part of this spine center approach is a commitment to patient education. We have a 36 page Home Remedy Book that we provide to patients. This is also the core component of our recommended Home Exercise Program. Ideally we want every person coming through The Spine Center at University Orthopedics to receive a copy of this book so they understand their exercises and what symptoms need to be evaluated quickly by a spine specialist.

spine surgeon rhode island, spine center rhode islandMany patients, for example, donít understand the significance of arm or leg weakness caused by a spinal problem. While it may be appropriate to use nonoperative measures and watchfully wait for arm or leg pain to resolve, loss of strength in the extremity may need to be treated more quickly and aggressively. In some cases, delaying treatment for a serious neurologic deficit may result in permanent loss of strength and/or sensation.

The University Orthopedics Spine Center has developed a content-rich Internet presence to help our patients understand their specific problem. The educational material on our website includes print, pictorial and narrated video content. There is information on spinal conditions and treatments, an anatomy library, an exercise library, symptom charts and a description of home remedies. This Internet presence represents a virtual encyclopedia on spine care.

Advanced surgical techniques

spine surgeon rhode island, spine center rhode islandIf and when spine surgery becomes necessary, the surgeons at University Orthopedics are trained in the latest minimally invasive techniques. In this type of surgery, smaller incisions are used with less disruption of muscle and soft tissue. These less invasive procedures usually enable a patient to be discharged sooner and recover more quickly with less pain when compared to traditional procedures.

For patients with cervical degenerative disc disease, spine surgeons at University Orthopedics also perform artificial disc replacement surgery in select cases. The artificial disc is one of the most significant advances in the field of spine. The mechanical disc replicates the function of the normal healthy disc.

Spine Navigation and 3D Imaging now at University Orthopedics in Rhode Island

spine navigation technology for spine surgery in rhode island, 3d imaging used by spine surgeons during surgery
Image below shows pedicle screw planning.
Image used courtesy Stryker® Corporation.
All rights reserved.

Most people who have watched a 3D movie on a big screen, will agree that it is a pretty cool technology. When it comes to 3D imaging for spine navigation to asist with complex spine surgeries, physicians and patients would both agree that this technology is a welcome addition to the operating room as well.

Dr. Mark Palumbo, Dr. Craig Eberson and Dr. Phillip Lucas at the University Orthopedics Spine Center in Rhode Island now apply the power of navigation technology to spine surgery. The Spine Navigation System places the spine surgeons at University Orthopedics at the forefront of computer assisted surgery for spine in the nation. Read more here.

Do you Need an Appointment?

We have made it easier to schedule appointments, click the button to fill out an online appointment request form or call our new central scheduling line 401-457-1500 to schedule an appointment.

  • Spine
    • The Spine Center are referred back and neck pain patients across the New England States.
  • Hand & Wrist
    • The Hand & Wrist center deals with both surgical and nonsurgical treatment of conditions and problems.
  • Joint Replacement
    • The Joint Replacement Center provides the most modern treatment options for knee, hip, and shoulder replacement
  • Pediatric Orthopedics
    • The Pediatric Orthopedic Center consist of three surgeons who specialize in the care of children.
  • Foot & Ankle
    • The Foot & Ankle Center involves clinical teams that specialize in foot and ankle surgery.
  • Shoulder & Elbow
    • The Shoulder & Elbow Center includes orthopedic surgeons and therapists who specialize in shoulder and elbow.
  • Sports Medicine
    • The Sports Medicine Center helps those with sports-related injuries recover quickly to return to activity.
  • Trauma & Fracture
    • The Trauma & Facture center works closesly together with Rhode Island Hospital's trauma specialists to identify injuries.
  • Oncology
    • Our orthopedic oncology center includes the expertise of a specialist in oncology and reconstructive surgery.
  • Cartilage Repair Center
    Cartilage Repair
    • The Cartilage Repair Center offers state-of-the-art treatment of joint cartilage lesions
  • Orthodirect for sprains, fractures, work accidents, sports injuries
    Ortho Direct
    • Ortho Direct treats patients with urgent orthopedic needs from sprains, fractures, work accidents & sports injuries.
Brochures & Journals
  • Back to Life Journal
    • Subscribe to our Back to Life Journal to read information on the latest advances on joint replacement, sports medicine, orthopedic problems and back and neck pain.
Home Remedy Book
  • Home Remedy Book
    • Have back or neck pain? Learn what causes symptoms and the home remedies that relieve pain. University Orthopedics mails out Home Remedy Books to residents throughout the New England area.
About Us

University Orthopedics in Providence, Rhode Island, is a regional referral center for patients with back and neck pain, joint pain, sports medicine problems, shoulder pain, hand problems, hip and knee pain, and foot and ankle injury. University Orthopedics utilizes fellowship-trained, sub-specialized physicians to treat a variety of orthopedic problems.