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Spine center

At Great Plains Health Spine Center, our goal is to help patients regain full function as safely and quickly as possible. We feature the only comprehensive, patient-focused multidisciplinary spine team in west-central Nebraska. Together with our referring providers and advanced nursing care specialists, we guide patients through diagnosis and treatment and on to enjoying their lives again. With dedicated outpatient clinic and in-hospital programs, our integrated team approach leads to seamless coordination of care and quality outcomes.

Disorders we treat

Arthritis of the spine

Arthritis of the spine is a condition in which the protective cartilage that cushions the tops of the bones wears down, causing swelling and pain in the joints of the spine. Often, this occurs as part of the aging process. A slowly progressing condition, arthritis of the spine can lead to other complications, including nerve root irritation, spinal stenosis and spinal instability.

Degenerative disk disease

The disks that serve as "shock absorbers" between the vertebrae in the spine can sometimes lose their flexibility and elasticity over time or with injury. When this happens, it can cause tears in the ligaments that surround the disk (annulus fibrosis) and cause bone spurs. The process is known as degenerative disk disease.


Radiculopathy is a pinched nerve or a series of pinched nerves in the spine. The condition is caused by deterioration of or injury to the bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons that surround the nerves, creating a change in the positioning of the tissue, which ultimately leads to extra pressure on the nerve roots in the spinal cord. This results in inflammation leading to numbness, weakness and pain. The condition is most often temporary and can be positively impacted with proper treatment.


The sciatic nerve (the longest nerve in the body) gives individuals the ability to control and feel their legs. It begins at the spinal cord and extends through the hips and buttocks, where it finally branches down each leg. When the nerve root is irritated, it causes sciatica, a condition that results in pain that starts in the back and rushes down through the legs. The pain can range from uncomfortable to excruciating.


An unnatural curvature of the spine, scoliosis usually occurs in adolescence and, if left untreated, can progress throughout growth and affect a person’s ability to walk and stand. Treatment options include periodic radiographic evaluation, bracing and, in some cases, surgical correction.

Slipped disk

Technically not "slipped" at all, a slipped disk actually occurs when a disk ruptures or herniates, causing bulging that extends beyond the normal boundary of the disk's outer wall and into the spinal cord or nerve roots. Slipped disk symptoms can originate within any part of the spine—from the neck to the lower back—and symptoms also can radiate to other parts of the body.

Spinal instability

Spinal instability is a common source of back pain and is caused by the deterioration and flattening of intervertebral discs. This causes abnormal movement in the spinal cord and leads to varying degrees of pain.

Spinal stenosis

The gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, spinal stenosis can be attributed to the degeneration of the intravertebral discs between the vertebrae and arthritic changes of the facet joints and vertebrae. Often caused by aging, spinal stenosis occurs most frequently in the lower back but can also occur in the neck and upper back.


Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that causes a lower vertebra to slip forward on to the vertebra next to it. This is a painful but mostly treatable condition that develops during childhood or early adolescence in a weakened area of the vertebrae.

Strains and sprains

Irritation and tearing of muscles or ligaments in the back are referred to as strains and sprains. They usually come from sports activities, high physical activity or accidents.

Outpatient surgeries

For those individuals who do not respond well to aggressive nonsurgical care, our multidisciplinary spine team offers some of the most current and advanced surgical solutions to treat spinal conditions:

  • Micro-discectomy for lumbar disk herniations.
  • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for vertebral compression fractures.
  • Cervical discectomy and fusion for cervical disk herniations.

Spinal conditions and major inpatient surgeries

  • Reconstructive surgery of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, including disk replacement.
  • Degenerative conditions of the spine.
  • Spinal trauma.
  • Scoliosis surgery.
  • Spinal tumor.

Outreach clinic location

Broken Bow
Jenny M. Melham Memorial Medical Center
145 Memorial Drive
Broken Bow, NE 68822
Map and driving directions

Meet our orthopaedic spine surgeon

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