Glenn Mellusi D.C.
285 Main Ave.
Stirling, NJ 07980

Work: 908-903-1199
Fax: 908-903-1188
Email: [email protected]

It is estimated that approximately 80% of Americans will experience a significant back problem during the course of their life. The direct and indirect costs associated with back pain are about 50 billion dollars annually. As many as 50 percent of all working American have back symptoms each year and as many as one third of adults sought professional care for a back problem during the last five years. Thus there is a growing demand for physicians who have special expertise in the care of the spine, a spine physician.

There is a push to inform the public about the spine and to improve the efficiency and outcome of spinecare. There are many healthcare disciplines who may care for the spine. Two of the best trained in this area are the chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon. There is a growing demand for effective public awareness of spine conditions and for healthcare specialists who care for the spine.

The prevalence and impact of spine disorders will affect the majority of us. The personal and financial costs associated with spine disorders impact individuals, families, the healthcare system, businesses and society as a whole. The impact of spine disorders and disease has attracted the attention of governmental as well as private healthcare agencies and organizations. The World Health Organization recently published" The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions at the Start of the New Millennium" in response to the rising burden of spine, spine-related and other musculoskeletal disorders. In their treatise they include a review of the influence spinal disorders have on individuals and the healthcare systems of developed and developing countries throughout the world. The report was prepared in collaboration with the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010, an international initiative to improve health-related quality of life for persons affected by musculoskeletal conditions.

The American Academy of Spine Physicianss (AASP), is a national organization of chiropractic physicians and neurosurgeons committed to conservative and cooperative spinecare, has risen to address these issues. In cooperation with the International Spine Association (ISA) the AASP recently launched its National Spinecare Public Awareness Initiative. The mission of the AASP initiative is to advance public awareness about the spine, spine disorders, spine health and spinecare through the dissemination of information and facilitation of educational opportunities. One of the goals of the National Initiative is to place the needs of patients and public first, by providing educational opportunities allowing them to become an active participant in choosing their provider, participating in their own recovery and to educate them so that they can strive to prevent the progression of or the onset of spine disorders/spine disease through a healthy lifestyle.

Each member of the AASP is provided with Initiative resources which they can share with patients, post and submit to local media to help accomplish this task. The mission of the AASP is to facilitate a cooperative approach to spinecare, cultivate open dialogue and clinical interaction between members, promote continuing education for chiropractic physicians and neurosurgeons and provide educational resources for physicians caring for patients with spinal disorders. The AASP is an advocate of patient rights, particularly the patient's right to access expert spinecare and to choose available care after being informed of their condition and therapeutic options. Local chiropractic physician/neurosurgeon Dr.David Durrant, member of the American Academy of Spine Physicians is participating in the National Spinecare Public Awareness Initiative. More information about the initiative and information about the spine and spinecare can accessed on his/her website at Dr. David Durrant's website is linked to the website of the AASP.

Through the efforts of the AASP and their application of leading edge technology, Dr. Durrant of Elgin IL is able to provide public awareness information through a variety of printed, electronic and multi-media resources to ensure an effective educational opportunity for members of the community.

The human spine is complex by design; Therefore, care of the spine requires specialized expertise and experience such as that of the chiropractic physician or neurosurgeon. . The spinal column provides flexibility for movement, support for weight bearing and protection of nerves fibers, which comprise the spinal cord and nerve roots. The dynamic and supportive properties of the normal spine are provided by 25 moveable vertebrae, over 100 elaborate joints, 24 intervertebral discs, more than 220 specialized ligaments, an intricate network of blood vessels and countless specialized nerve endings. There are 31 pairs of large spinal nerves, which link the central nervous system and spine to regions of the body. There are hundreds of small nerve fibers which connect directly to structures of the spine through countless specialized nerve endings.

Common examples of spine conditions include degenerative disc disease, back pain, neck pain, disc herniation, arthritis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, abnormal spinal joint movement and spinal nerve compromise (radiculopathy). Less common disorders include scar tissue, spinal tumors, cancer, various types of cysts and infection. Some of these disorders can coexist in the same individual. A spine physician, such as a chiropractic physician or neurosurgeon, is experienced in the diagnosis and care of the spine and related disorders.

There are many specialized areas of practice within the healthcare field. Examples include cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology and gastroenterology. The various specialties have evolved on different timelines. The healthcare specialties were developed out of demand due to the complexity of various systems of the body and the complexity of the disorders that compromise them. Adequate knowledge of advances in spinecare technology, therapeutic approaches and minimally invasive surgical techniques requires the attention of doctors who emphasize spinecare such as the chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon. Physicians without this specialized training and experience may not be as well prepared to treat and manage certain spinal conditions and diseases. (The insight to make a timely and appropriate referral to a spine expert requires a certain element of suspicion or an accurate diagnosis on the part of the physician who is not a spine specialist). The spine and related areas of the nervous system represent one of the most complicated systems of the body thus the emergence of the spinecare specialties.

A spine physician is a physician who has specialized training and experience in the evaluation and care of the spine. The specialized training includes the study of spine anatomy, spine biomechanics, biochemistry, genetics, neurophysiology, neurology and pharmacology. Training also includes the study of general medicine and those conditions which could involve the spine. Some spine physicians will go on to train in spine surgery while others will specialize in a physical medicine approach which encompasses clinical biomechanics, spinal manipulation and spinal rehabilitation. Spine physicians are highly trained in the application of advanced diagnostic technology such as computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, biochemical testing and electrodiagnostic evaluation. The chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon strive to protect and restore biomechanical and neurological integrity of the spine through: early diagnosis, early intervention, patient education and through the prevention of unnecessary surgery. Chiropractic physicians and neurosurgeons have the opportunity to obtain advanced credentialing as spine physicians.

Spine physicians have the opportunity to participate in continuing education after receiving their doctoral degree. For example a chiropractic physician or a neurosurgeon, who emphasizes spinecare has the opportunity to be awarded Diplomate status with the American Academy of Spine Physicians or prestigious Fellow status with the American College of Spine Physicians upon achieving the appropriate level of post-doctoral education. Those spine physicians who obtain Diplomate status will have the designation DAASP after their name. Those who have obtained Fellow Status may display FACSP after their name.

Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Spine Physicians