The Spinal Department embodies the philosophy and approach of a specialised institution in the state capital of Baden-Württemberg: an important department within the Stuttgart Sports Clinic, the Spinal Department makes a significant contribution to the nationwide reputation of the renowned specialist clinic for orthopaedic surgery, trauma surgery and sports medicine by providing intensive treatment for active individuals. The Department’s high standards are ensured first and foremost by its Director, Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Veihelmann.
The Stuttgart Sports Clinic is a leading institution for the treatment of injuries of the upper and lower extremities throughout Baden-Württemberg: the Swabian institution specialises in athletic injuries and providing treatment in the field of endoprosthetics. Regardless of whether a patient is a top athlete or just plays sport in their spare time: people who love being physically active want to regain their mobility as quickly as possible after an accident. And it’s not just extreme sports that can lead to injury: injuries can occur really easily in everyday life, both at home and at work.
Anyone who experiences a sports injury needs expert help to get back to their best as quickly as possible. The Stuttgart Sports Clinic is the ideal place to go: This national specialist clinic for orthopedic surgery, trauma surgery and sports medicine is one of the leading institutions of its kind in the entire German-speaking world and meets the highest quality standards in the interplay of diagnostics, therapy and follow-up treatment. Everything is considered here: the great national and international scientific commitment of the doctors is matched by the one hundred percent specialist quota in nursing, where work is based on the latest nursing science findings. Thus, the Stuttgart Sports Clinic offers patient care at a proven high level.
Clear mission statement: focus on athletes and exercise-oriented people
Prof. Andreas Veihelmann is one of the outstanding specialists at the Stuttgart Sports Clinic who has particularly extensive experience with top athletes. Numerous top athletes rely on his skills - from golf pros and Bundesliga footballers to basketball players and track athletes. But many amateur athletes also rely on his skills. After all, when back pain and spinal disorders suddenly turn people who are actually athletic into exercise buffs, it is important to get to the right doctor.
Prof. Veihelmann specializes in all questions concerning the spine and back - and lives the patient-oriented philosophy of the Sports Clinic with full commitment. Prof. Dr. med. Veihelmann and his expert team strive to always ensure a comprehensive differential diagnosis right from the outset. This involves test blocks, used to identify possible causes of spinal pain, which can then be treated using appropriate methods as necessary. Naturally, this process always takes place in detailed consultation with the patient.
Degenerative diseases: from slipped discs to sciatica
Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann has two main areas of expertise in the Spinal Department: degenerative diseases of the spine and chronic back pain. Degenerative diseases include slipped discs, which predominantly occur in the cervical and lumbar spine and often cause neck and lower back pain. Issues in the arms and legs as well as numbness in the extremities are also associated with slipped discs. Patients may even experience uncontrollable urinary urgency. This condition is often trigged by a trapped spinal nerve.
The most common reason that patients visit Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann is chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is the most common cause of inability to work amongst patients under 45 years of age and there are many risk factors, including smoking, genetic predisposition, obesity and heavy physical activity.
Sciatic pain, i.e. pain triggered by the lumbar spine which can often radiate down into the feet, is another example of a degenerative disease of the spine. Since the sciatic nerve is made up of multiple nerve roots in the back, the pain associated with this can actually be experienced in various parts of the legs. Functional disorders of the sacroiliac joint are also relatively common, and tend to cause lower back pain. Less common degenerative diseases – with which Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann and his team still have a wealth of experience – include cervical headaches and various types of neck pain.
Chronic back pain: range of diagnostic and treatment options
People who come to the Spinal Department at Stuttgart Sports Clinic with chronic back pain can rely on the fact that after undergoing a thorough diagnostic process, they will be provided with the right treatment which has been adapted to their individual needs. The range of diagnostic tools available to Prof. Dr. med Veihelmann is impressive. In providing these services, he is, of course, able to use the excellent facilities at the Sports Clinic: a clinic which is designed to treat top international athletes and which offers state-of-the-art facilities that provide all possible options associated with contemporary diagnostics. As an example, Prof. Dr. med Veihelmann has at his disposal discography to image the inner structure of the intervertebral disc. This enables him to draw relatively reliable conclusions as to whether pain is originating from a damaged intervertebral disc.
Additional diagnostic options include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT) and electromyography (EMG). EMG tests nerve impulses on the muscles to ascertain whether the pain is still there.
In order to treat chronic back pain, Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann uses the entire range of treatment options available in modern medicine. Therefore, the Stuttgart Clinic also offers epidural injections and facet joint injections. Prof. Dr. med Veihelmann is an expert in providing a wide range of treatments, from facet syndrome treatment to the interruption of nerve conduction and disc decompression. The specialist also knows pretty much everything there is to know about trigger points.
Focus on minimally invasive surgery
As a consultant in orthopaedics, rheumatology, sports medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture, Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann employs a variety of methods in addition to traditional treatment options. For example, he uses biodynamic and neurophysiological principles when providing chiropractic treatment, while in the field of acupuncture he integrates the effects and functions of traditional Chinese medicine into the treatment he provides. It goes without saying that the experienced specialist also understands that back pain may not be caused by an anatomical issue, but that this pain is still real and requires treatment.
The spinal specialist’s medical expertise ranges from trauma surgery to the broad field of orthopaedics. Though he initially uses all the options available to him to treat his patients’ conditions or injuries with non-surgical methods, surgery is still required in some cases. As an orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Veihelmann almost exclusively uses state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical methods to achieve treatment success. The advantage of this is that small incisions suffice, which leaves minimal scarring. In addition, it reduces recovery time and hugely decreases the amount of time patients need to stay in hospital.
Nevertheless, when they do have to stay overnight at the Stuttgart Sports Clinic, patients are exclusively cared for by qualified staff in a friendly environment. And, of course, Prof. Dr. med Andreas Veihelmann believes it is important to manage his patients’ follow-up care personally. He also likes to stop by the Physiotherapy Department.
Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Veihelmann is also active in the fields of research and teaching; for example, he presided over the conference at the “Spinal Treatment 2020 – Evidence and Efficiency” event in March 2020 at the 16th Annual Conference of the German Society for Spinal Treatment (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wirbelsäulentherapie e.V.). He has also gained expertise by studying at the University of Ulm, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and New York University Medical Center. At present, he teaches in Munich.
Professor Veihelmann is a member of various associations and specialist organisations. These include the German Society of Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie) and the German Pain Organisation (Deutsche Schmerzliga e.V.). He is also the President of the German Society for Spinal Treatment (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wirbelsäulentherapie e.V.) and carries out advisory work. Multiple specialist journals rely on his expert opinion as a reviewer.