The Spine Center


Whether it means resuming walks with your dog, chasing grandchildren or kayaking Lake Washington, regaining a life worth living is defined differently for each of us. The Spine Center at Valley is here to help you live an active life without pain.

Valley's spine care helps patients return to an active lifestyle.

Spine Treatment and Surgery at Valley Medical Center

The Spine Center at Valley Neuroscience Institute brings together neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the treatment of upper back, lower back and neck injuries. VNI specialists evaluate and treat many spine conditions:

  • Low back pain and neck pain
  • Herniated or bulging vertebral discs
  • Spinal instability
  • Degenerative changes
  • Nerve root compression
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Tumor removal
  • Traumatic (and compression) vertebral fractures
  • Infections
  • Spinal AV fistulas
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
  • Adult and pediatric spinal deformities

Back pain comes in many forms, affecting the lower, middle or upper back. Neck pain can occur from the base of the skull down to the shoulders, upper back or arms, restricting the range of movement of your head and neck. Pain in both cases can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, or disabling. Back and neck pain may be caused by a sudden or repetitive injury, poor posture, a fracture, joint degeneration, pressure on the nerves, a tumor, a narrowing or deformity of the spinal canal, and injury or overuse of muscles or ligaments. Some conditions are successfully treated with rehabilitation, or periodic use of medications. Other conditions may improve with surgery. 

VNI's Spine Center provides personalized, state-of-the-art care for spine patients in a comfortable, caring environment. Because VNI surgeons, nurses, medical technicians and therapists are experienced with spine patients' care pre- and post-surgery, they are better able to anticipate and address issues as they arise, helping get patients get back to a normal life. More than 85% of patients who have spine surgery at VNI are able to go home and function in a home environment at the end of the week following surgery.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (arthritis of the spine)

(commonly known as “humpback”)

Low Back Pain

Neck Pain



Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

(also known as wryneck)  


Valley Neuroscience Institute's Spine Center is one of the only hospitals in the Pacific Northwest currently performing FDA-approved artificial disc replacement surgery on patients meeting the surgical criteria for this procedure.

In addition, The Spine Center is one of the few medical centers in the Seattle area to offer cervical disc replacement as an alternative to spinal fusion. This cutting edge procedure treats symptoms such as arm pain or weakness caused by degenerative disc disease in the neck, while preserving motion in the neck.

Neurosurgeons at the Neuroscience Institute also perform these surgical procedures:

  • Decompressive laminectomies for stenosis
  • Laminectomies and discectomies for herniated discs
  • Posterior and anterior cervical fusions for disc problems
  • Instability or spinal cord compression
  • Posterior interbody and posterolateral thoracic and lumbar fusions for stenosis
  • Disc problems and instability
  • Removal and insertion of spinal instrumentation
  • Surgical reconstruction of spinal deformities
  • Revisions of previous spinal surgery

Download and review The Spine Center: A Personal Planner to prepare for your surgery:*

* Please request password access from your surgeon's office.

Prepare for surgery: watch a recording of our Video to Watch Before Spine Surgery that explains what to expect and what you need to know.


Before Spine Surgery:
What You Need to Know

View entire video (32 minutes)
>> Fast Forward to Select Topic:

00:00 — Introduction with Dr. Thompson
06:25 — General Information with Josh Grant PA-C
13:37 — Seminar Goals
14:14 — Your stay at the Spine Center
15:50 — Preparing for your Surgery
18:53 — Day of Surgery
21:46 — Check-in at Surgery Admitting
22:01 — In the OR
22:44 — The Recovery Room (PACU)
24:35 — Pain Management
26:02 — Managing Possible Risks
27:06 — Rehabilitation
28:00 — Incision Care
28:38 — Going Home
29:57 — Equipment for Home
30:18 — Do’s and Don’ts after Surgery


Spine Surgery: Rick's Story

Rick was among the eighty percent of Americans who live with back pain. But when he began experiencing numbness in his leg, Rick knew it was time to seek help. He went to Jason Thompson, MD, Orthopedic Medical Director of The Spine Center at Valley Medical Center. Dr. Thompson found that Rick’s vertebrae were markedly out of alignment, crushing his nerves. "Without surgery, he ran the risk of irreversible damage," he explains. Today Rick lives pain free and is doing the things he loves, including his greatest joy—being a dad.