SpineUniverse Editorial Policy and Guidelines

Content Goals

SpineUniverse is dedicated to being the most comprehensive and trustworthy site for information on back and neck health. We seek to educate the public and inform medical professionals on all subjects relating to spine problems, from diagnosis and treatment to lifestyle and prevention.

Content Types and Standards

Editorial Content
Editorial Content is generated by medical professionals and medical writers. It is reviewed for quality and accuracy by members of the Editorial Board. All Editorial Content must meet the following standards:

Clear: Is written in a manner that is appropriate for the audience

Current: Presents information that is up-to-date, including current research, news, and recent developments in the field

Relevant: Addresses prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and / or lifestyle information for back or neck problems

Objective: Presents a balanced view of an issue, when one or more alternative views exist. If an author is strongly associated with a particular viewpoint, a comment from an Editorial Board member is added to provide balance. The author's financial disclosures and any potential conflicts of interest are noted on each author page.

We would also like to point out that, in general, we do not use the ® symbol when referencing specific products (medications, medical devices, etc.).  This does not indicate either a bias or a preference.  Instead, we are adhering to the editorial guidelines established by the American Medical Association, which state: "{C}{C}{C}The symbol ®, or letters TM or SM, should not be used in scientific journal articles or references, but the initial letter of a trademarked word should be capitalized" (5.6.16).

Trustworthy: Is reviewed by one or more Editorial Board members and / or medical professionals

Sponsored and Third-party Funded Content
SpineUniverse receives a monetary payment or other commercial benefit for the presentation of two types of content on the site: Sponsored Content and Third-party Content.

Sponsored Content is paid for by a commercial entity to inform people about its products and services. For example, a company might provide Sponsored Content about a medication, medical device, or therapy it provides.  The sponsoring company has final editorial control of Sponsored Content.

All Sponsored Content on the site is clearly identified as being "Brought to you by..." with a header, button, or other graphic element at the top of its page.

SpineUniverse also receives grants from third parties, such as commercial companies and non-profit agencies, to produce independent content about a specific back or neck issue. These grants enable SpineUniverse to create more of the quality, independent content that benefits you, and this is called Third-party Funded Content.

Third-party Funded Content is subject to the standards set for our Editorial Content, and it undergoes rigorous review (as described above in the Editorial Content section).  The SpineUniverse Editorial Board and Editorial team have final editorial control of Third-party Funded Content.

When Third-party Funded Content is presented on the site, the following phrase will be clearly presented at the top of the page: "Funded by…."

User Generated Content
The site features an active Community section, in which registered site visitors can initiate and participate in spine-related discussions. Although this content—User Generated Content—is not monitored for its accuracy or balance, it is carefully managed to ensure that the Community section is a safe and relevant environment. To learn, read the Community Advice Rules.

Licensed Content
Licensed Content is content that SpineUniverse chooses to use from a third party. SpineUniverse may be required to pay a fee to license the use for the content, or the license may be complimentary. Licensed Content is not necessarily sent through Editorial Board review, as we may be satisfied with the third party's review process. However, content must adhere to standards for our Editorial Content.

All advertisements are clearly labeled "Advertisement" to alert users that the content they are reading is advertising content. The site observes strict rules regarding the types of advertisements that can be presented on the site. Visit our Advertising Policy for complete information.

Editorial Board

The SpineUniverse Editorial Board consists of many of the world's leading spine experts. These professionals represent numerous medical specialties, including orthopaedic and neurologic surgeons, radiologists, pain management specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses, and ergonomics experts. The Editorial Board writes content for the site and reviews all Editorial Content before it is approved for presentation on the site.

Writers and Editors

A team of medical writers manage SpineUniverse content. Each member of the Editorial team has an extensive understanding of the subject area, in addition to broad training and experience writing and editing content that is clear, objective, accurate, and trustworthy. The writers' perceived or actual conflicts of interest are presented on the site.

Every effort is made to ensure that writing staff who develop Editorial Content do not work on sponsored or promotional projects.

Content Limitations

The content on the site is for educational purposes only. The site does not present medical advice and should never interfere with the patient and physician relationship. Visitors should consult with their physician on all matters pertaining to their medical condition.

Content Privacy

Extensive efforts are made to ensure that content on the site protects patient privacy. For example, if an x-ray is shown on the site, all items that might serve to identify the patient are removed prior to presentation. You can read the full Privacy Policy here.

Content and FDA Labeling Limitations

SpineUniverse does not endorse, promote, or encourage the use of medical devices or medications in a manner that has not been approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Appearance of an advertisement on a specific page does not indicate that SpineUniverse or the advertiser is promoting the use of a product for a non-approved use.

URAC Standards

URAC is a non-profit, independent accreditation agency, which offers a nationally-recognized accreditation process and seal of approval for health web sites. The process for accreditation is comprehensive, detailed, and understandably lengthy. SpineUniverse is actively working to comply with all URAC standards and to ultimately complete the accreditation process.

Update Frequency

The site's team of medical writers seek to ensure that the site's content is high quality. To this end, the team monitors, adds, and updates content daily.

Patient Article Submissions

If you're a spine professional and you're interested in submitting a patient-focused article, please contact our Editorial team using this form.

In your email, give a brief summary of your article idea(s) and some basic information about yourself.  A member of the SpineUniverse Editorial team will contact you within 5 to 10 business days.

Case Submission Guidelines

If you are a spine professional and you're interested in submitting a case study, please visit our Case Submission Guidelines.


Last Updated: October 21, 2014