The Spine & Back Blog

We are thrilled to share our exciting news. NSSC Spine Clinic is expanding its services to include physical therapy!

Physical Therapy Services - NSSC Spine Clinic (Gastonia, NC)As part of our commitment to comprehensive patient care, Dr. William D. Hunter and our esteemed team of healthcare providers are pleased to announce the integration of physical therapy services into our practice, complementing our distinguished neurosurgical expertise. This addition aligns with our mission to provide holistic and personalized care to our valued patients. 

Physical therapy can play a crucial role in enhancing recovery, improving mobility, and promoting overall well-being, complementing the neurosurgical treatments we are known for.

Key Benefits of Our New Physical Therapy Services:

  • Integrated Care: Our physical therapy services are seamlessly integrated into the neurosurgical practice at the NSSC Spine Clinic, ensuring a coordinated and comprehensive approach to your treatment.
  • Expert Therapists: Our team of experienced and highly trained physical therapists is dedicated to working collaboratively with our providers to optimize your rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Customized Treatment Plans: Each patient is unique, and so are their needs. Our physical therapists will develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific condition, ensuring optimal outcomes.
  • Convenience: By offering physical therapy within our practice, we aim to enhance your convenience by providing comprehensive care under one roof.

Whether you are recovering from surgery, managing a chronic condition, or seeking preventive care, our physical therapy services are designed to support your journey to better health.

Physical Therapy In Gastonia, NC

To schedule a physical therapy appointment or learn more about how these services can benefit you, please call us at 704-864-5550 or reach out via our contact page.


WARLICK FAMILY YMCA TRICK OR TRAIL 5K RUNJoin Dr. William Hunter and staff as we participate in the Warlick Family YMCA Trick or Trail Run at the Warlick Family YMCA on Saturday, October 28th

Warlick Family YMCA
2221 Robinwood Road
Gastonia, NC US 28054

As the title sponsor, all of us at the Neuroscience & Spine Center of the Carolinas would love to see you come out, have a great time, and support a wonderful organization.

Warlick Family YMCA

The Trick or Trail Run supports the Warlick Family YMCA, a non-profit organization committed to helping members of our community live a balanced, healthy life in spirit, mind, and body. The YMCA makes a positive impact in the Gaston County community by encouraging wellness and family on their beautiful 118-acre campus.


5K and 1-mile Fun Run on the Sytz Trail
at the Warlick Family YMCA

  • 8:00am 5K begins
  • 9:00am Fun Run begins
  • 9:30-11:30am After Party

What does the 5K Trail Look Like? 
Both the 5K race and 1 Mile Fun Run courses are on the Sytz Trail System at the Warlick Family YMCA.
View a map of the Sytz Trail System.

Can I dress up in costume?
Please do! It makes the race even more fun! Plus, the after-race party will include prizes for best costume and performance. Dogs included!

Register Now

Visit the Warlick Family YMCA Trick or Trail Run website to register now.


When conservative treatments fail to alleviate severe back pain caused by conditions like degenerative disc disease or spinal instability, surgical intervention may be necessary. Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) surgery is a procedure commonly performed to address these spinal conditions. Below we’ll explore what TLIF surgery entails, discuss the benefits it offers, and identify the individuals who can benefit the most from this surgical approach.

What Is TLIF Surgery?

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) surgery is a spinal fusion procedure that focuses on stabilizing the lumbar spine, specifically the lower back. It involves accessing the spine from a posterior approach, typically through a small incision in the lower back. During the procedure, the damaged disc or bone material is removed, and bone grafts or implants are inserted to promote fusion between adjacent vertebrae. This fusion helps alleviate pain, restore stability, and improve the overall functionality of the spine.

Benefits of Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) Surgery:

a. Pain Relief: TLIF surgery is highly effective in reducing back and leg pain caused by conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. By decompressing nerve roots and stabilizing the affected area, the surgery alleviates pressure on nerves, resulting in significant pain relief.

BENEFITS OF TRANSFORAMINAL LUMBAR INTERBODY FUSION (TLIF) SURGERYb. Spinal Stability: One of the key benefits of TLIF surgery is the restoration of spinal stability. The fusion between vertebrae eliminates abnormal movement and instability in the affected segment of the spine. This stability helps prevent further degeneration and reduces the likelihood of future complications.

c. Improved Functionality: Individuals who undergo TLIF surgery often experience an improvement in their ability to perform daily activities. By addressing the underlying cause of pain and instability, the surgery enables patients to regain mobility, flexibility, and overall functionality.

d. Reduced Dependency on Medication: Chronic back pain often requires long-term medication use, which can have side effects and limitations. TLIF surgery offers the potential for a significant reduction in pain, allowing patients to rely less on pain medication and potentially improving their overall quality of life.

e. Faster Recovery: While recovery times can vary, TLIF surgery generally offers a faster recovery compared to traditional open spinal surgeries. The minimally invasive nature of TLIF, with smaller incisions and reduced muscle trauma, contributes to a quicker return to daily activities and work.

Who Can Benefit Most From TLIF Surgery?

a. Spinal Instability: Individuals with spinal instability resulting from degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal trauma can benefit greatly from TLIF surgery. The fusion procedure stabilizes the affected segment, reducing pain and preventing further degeneration.

Benefits of Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) Surgeryb. Disc Herniation: TLIF surgery is effective in addressing herniated discs that cause significant pain, nerve compression, and functional limitations. The procedure removes the damaged disc material and provides stability, relieving pressure on the affected nerves.

c. Spinal Stenosis: TLIF surgery can benefit individuals with spinal stenosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal. By decompressing the nerves and stabilizing the spine, the surgery relieves pain and restores functionality.

d. Failed Conservative Treatments: Patients who have exhausted non-surgical treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, and injections, without experiencing sufficient relief may be suitable candidates for TLIF surgery.

The NSSC Spine Clinic Can Help Determine The Best Approach For You

If you are experiencing chronic back pain, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) surgery is a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure to consider. It is recommended for treating various spinal conditions that cause severe back pain and instability. That said, it is only one of your many options for reducing your pain and improving your quality of life.

To better understand treatment options, and what is best for your circumstances, please contact the NSSC Spine Clinic in Gastonia, NC today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hunter. Dr. William Hunter is a board-certified neurosurgeon and spine specialist with over two decades of experience offering various treatments for back pain relief, including spine surgery, as well as minimally invasive techniques, and regenerative medical treatments.

Minimally Invasive Surgery- TLIF

Dr. William D. Hunter performs a minimally invasive TLIF L5-S1 fusion in Gastonia, N.C. Watch as the intra-operative procedure is performed.



This video is reviewing the maximum access transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. The MRI here shows the boxes are the bones, between the bones the disk spaces, and the white where the nerves are running. The last disk space is shorter in height, and there’s a herniated disk (the black area) pressing on the area white area where the nerves are. This is the plan for attack to perform a fusion surgery. The patient is in the prone position, properly prepped and draped, and then we make small skin incisions the size of a finger to go ahead and place the screws in place. We dilate the muscles. We’re not stripping any muscles, only dilating the muscles. We’re putting the screws in first. We’re putting two screws in at l5 and also s1, and between the two screws is the disk space that we’re going to attack. We use the monitoring system to make sure that when we’re putting the screws in that we’re in the safe zone. Because we’re using the small skin incisions, we use the C arm, the x-ray machine, as well as the monitoring system to make sure we’re safe. Green means we’re safe, and we’re going to go ahead and proceed in placing the screws in the area of where they should be within the vertebral bodies going through the pedicles. So there are pedicle screws being placed. Once the screws are placed - we have two screws in place (one at l5 and one at S1) - we then go ahead and we’re going to take the disc out between the two screws. Once we have the screws in place, we place the retractor and make a skin incision between the two screws, and now we have basically the size of two fingers to put attack the disk space. You can see here drilling down this is exactly what I see in the operating room. Between my drill right there you can see the two screws that are on either side. We drill down the bone. We’re getting down to where the disk space is. The disk space is covered by bone, so we remove the bone, and we’re going to go attack between the two screws where the disk space is. We’re now opening up the space for the nerves to run through. We identify the nerves, and we go ahead and take the disc out that’s causing the pressure. We remove the herniated disc and we’re taking the rest of the disc out. Once we take the rest of the disc out, you can see we have an instrument inside the disc space. Now, the disc space has been removed, and now we have to size up the disc space. We go ahead and put trials in so we can use the correct size, and we can jack that disk space up, which allows the nerves to have more room to run through. Here, we’re tapping in the trial to make sure that we’re all in the correct space and size. We then use the actual graft itself, and we place the graft inside that space. Then once we do that, we go ahead and put the rod between the two screws, torque it, and then we go ahead and remove the retractor system. We close the area up, and we’ve performed our procedure within a matter of minutes, we’ve now performed our fusion. You can see that there are the screws there. The top screw is the l5 screw, and the bottom screw is the s1 screw. There’s the l5, and s1. Between the screws of the rod is the rod, and inside that disk space it’s been jacked up, and we now have a graft inside the disk space, and you can see the hash marks show on the back and the front. That’s the procedure in performing our mass TLIF.