Joel S. Saal, MD

Joel S. Saal, MD

Contact Dr. Joel Saal and his staff

Dr. Saal received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of New York at Buffalo in 1975. He then went on to graduate studies at Columbia University before attending Tulane University School of Medicine where he graduated with M.D. degree in 1980. He completed his training in Internal Medicine at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center  of San Francisco, a UCSF affiliate, for internship and residency programs completed in 1983. Dr. Saal went on to Stanford University in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation completing his residency program in 1986. Dr. Saal is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is also certified by the American Board of  Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He joined the SOAR Physiatry Medical Group in 1986.

Dr. Saal is a partner and attending physician in the Physiatry Medical Group practice at SOAR in Redwood City, California, and currently serves as a Team Physician for Men’s and Women’s Athletics at Santa Clara University. He has served as team physician and consultant to the San Francisco Forty Niners Football Team. He has served as team physician for Stanford University athletics and Associate Clinical Professor for the Department of Functional Restoration at Stanford University.

Dr. Joel Saal has participated and led clinical research and publications in the foundational work of the non operative treatment of painful spinal disorders.  He has been a principal author in numerous original research publications regarding the role of inflammation and pain in lumbar disc disease and the non-surgical treatment of painful spine disorders. His work has changed the approach to the treatment and understanding of painful lumbar spine disorders nationally and internationally.  Dr. Joel Saal, along with his brother Dr. Jeffrey A. Saal, co-developed the IDET technology and procedure for treating painful degenerative discs.  They were cofounders of Oratec , a medical device company. Their original research has been presented at spine conferences all over the world. 

Dr. Saal is a member of the North American Spine Society and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of that organization. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Saal was one of the founders of the Physiatric Association of Spine, Sports, and Occupational Rehabilitation (PASSOR).

 Dr. Saal is a cofounder of Laurimed LLC a medical  research and development company whose mission is to improve the methods for interventional, surgical, and nonsurgical treatment across  medical disciplines and specialties.

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