Fall 2005 Issue

Expanded Nonsurgical Options & Rehabilitation Now Available At The Practice
Two Physiatrists Join Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates

Physiatrists, David R. Wiercisiewski, M.D., & John A. Welshofer, M.D.
Physiatrists David R. Wiercisiewski, M.D., and John A. Welshofer, M.D., have recently joined Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, both physicians have practiced in the Charlotte region for more than a decade.

Dr. Wiercisiewski has 12 years of experience in the management of traumatic and nontraumatic brain injury rehabilitation issues, and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Duke University.

Dr. Welshofer is also board-certified in Pain Management. He has 11 years of Physical Medicine experience and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“I’m glad to bring a new specialty and area of expertise to a neurosurgery practice that is a leader in its field,” said Dr. Wiercisiewski.

Dr. Wiercisiewski and Dr. Welshofer are accepting immediate patient appointments at all of the practice’s regional offices.

A Nonsurgical Approach
Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and pain syndromes, and rehabilitation of patients with severe impairments. At Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, the addition of board-certified physiatrists to our staff will allow us to offer an even more comprehensive level of patient care.

New Physiatry Services
Spine-Related Treatment
• Management of nonsurgical spine treatment including:
- Physical therapy  
- Spinal manipulative therapy
- Appropriate complementary medicine referrals
- Limited but necessary medications
• EMG/NCV for evaluation of nerve and muscle disorders
• Therapeutic and diagnostic spinal injections
• Management of workers’ compensation injuries
• Surgical referrals as needed

Brain Injury Rehabilitation
• Disability management
• Spasticity/dystonia management
  (including botulinum toxin injections)
• Behavior management
• Post-concussion syndrome management
• Sports-related concussion management
• EMG/NCV for evaluation of nerve and muscle disorders
Spine-Related Disorders
Assessing and treating spine disorders will be a primary emphasis for the physiatrists at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. In addition to ordering any necessary on-site X-ray, CT or MRI scans, these specialists perform electrodiagnostic (EMG/NCV) testing to evaluate patients for nerve and muscle disorders. Once a diagnosis is made, they use a holistic approach to treatment, seeking to avoid surgery and minimize medications when possible.

“Statistically, only about one patient out of one hundred who suffers spine-related pain has a condition that ultimately requires surgery. My job is to determine who needs surgery and refer them to the neurosurgeons, while developing individual treatment plans for those who don’t,” said Dr. Welshofer.

Physiatrists manage a variety of nonsurgical options for patients including physical therapy, spinal manipulative therapy, complementary medical referrals, and limited medications. They also perform therapeutic and diagnostic spinal injections as an adjunct treatment for spine-related disorders. These epidural shots alleviate pain, help enhance rehabilitation efforts, and can sometimes help patients avoid surgery.

“My goal is to make sure patients understand their condition. From the beginning, we always go over a tiered game plan of treatment. I let them know what the next steps will be if the first option is not effective,” said Dr. Welshofer.

Rehabilitation Related To Brain Injuries & Disorders
Most acute conditions affecting the brain carry some degree of disability. Another area of focus for the physiatrists at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates will be providing post-operative management of disabilities related to brain injuries and disorders.These services include disability management, spasticity/dystonia management (including botulinum toxin injections), behavior management, and concussion management.

“The comprehensiveness of service and the direct communication between the key physicians managing the case are the biggest strengths or advantages,” said Dr. Wiercisiewski. “I personally think this is an incredible opportunity to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to neurosurgical patients that most communities do not have.” For more information about our physiatry services, call 704-376-1605

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