Dr. Evan Johnson Talks Hip and Back Pain at NASS Annual Meeting

Dec. 15, 2015

 Dr. Evan Johnson, Director of Physical Therapy at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York, is certainly no stranger to the annual meeting of the North American Spine Society (NASS).

At last year’s meeting he spoke about the impact of smartphone use on spinal health. Previous meetings saw him involved in projects that tested attendees’ balance, and analyzed their golf swings.

This year Dr. Johnson’s topic was the relationship between hip mobility and lower back pain.

He moderated a forum called “Hip-Spine Syndromes: Evaluation and Treatment of Patients with Concurrent Low Back Pain and Hip Pathology,” which examined the complex relationship between hip pain and lumbar (lower back) pain.

Besides moderating this interdisciplinary forum comprising orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, physiatrists and other practitioners, Dr. Johnson spoke on the topic of “Hip-Spine Syndrome: What Does the Literature Tell Us About the Co-Occurrence of Hip Pathology and Low Back Pain?”

Dr. Johnson says the intent of this session was to call attention to the fact that many patients who have degenerative lower back problems also have coexisting hip conditions. “This has been in the literature for years,” he says, “but has largely gone unnoted in … many clinical environments.”

He says it often poses a problem to determine which part of a patient’s pain is caused by spine degeneration, and which is caused by hip degeneration. “So the thought process is that the more that we can discriminate the hip pain from the spine pain, the more effectively we can treat our patients.”

For the forum, Dr. Johnson brought together experts from the fields of orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering, gait analysis and interventional pain medicine from all over the US and as far reaching as Israel. Each type of clinician has a particular perspective on hip and spine pain, and by sharing insights from across the disciplines Dr. Johnson believes the attendees gained valuable insights into the hip-spine system.

“As a physical therapist, of course, I think of it from a rehab perspective,” he explains. “But as an orthopedic surgeon, many of the surgeons who [were] there seemed to really appreciate and enjoy the fact that they had the perspective of the engineer on the balance of the system.”

The North American Spine Society’s annual meeting is the world’s largest spine meeting and exhibition. See our blog posts below to learn about Dr. Johnson’s previous NASS talks:

You can learn more about Dr. Johnson at his bio page here.

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