Christopher Ornelas, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery (Practitioner)

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Christopher C. Ornelas, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the USC Keck School of Medicine. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Ornelas specializes in the nonoperative treatment of disorders of the neck and back.

Dr. Ornelas earned his medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After Graduation he completed his medical internship at the University of New Mexico University Hospital, and his residency at the UCLA/WLA Multicampus training program. Dr. Ornelas went on to complete a fellowship in Interventional Spine Medicine at the UCLA Spine Center in Santa Monica, CA. Dr. Ornelas maintained a private practice, while continuing to be active in the training of resident and fellows at both Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angele, CA prior to joining the USC Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

Dr. Ornelas acts as a peer reviewer for Global Spine Journal and is an author of publications such as chapters in the AOSpine Master Series, sharing expert treatment recommendations for low back pain. Dr. Ornelas also directs the Electrodiagnostic Laboratory at the USC Spine Center and uses these techniques to help determine patient diagnosis and prognosis with regard to conditions related to cervical and lumbar radiculopathy.

Dr. Ornelas has received numerous awards for academic excellence during his medical school and residency training, and was recently awarded an “Outstanding Clinic Consultant” teaching award by the UCLA WLA Multicampus Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation training program. Dr. Ornelas has been invited faculty to lecture on interventional injection techniques and participate in cadaveric workshops aimed to help training resident and fellow physicians develop skills for clinical application.

Dr. Ornelas specializes in the implementation of physical therapy regimen and lumbar epidural steroid injections, lumbar facet injections, sacroiliac joint injections, cervical spine injections, and spinal cord stimulators to relieve neck and back pain. Dr. Ornelas was involved in the process to bring new neuromodulation techniques to Keck Hospital of USC.


  • Pasadena Magazine: Top Doctor, 2016


  • The DOWN Questionnaire: A Novel Screening Tool for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Global Spine J. 2019 Sep; 9(6):607-612. . View in PubMed
  • The risk of radiation exposure to the eyes of the interventional pain physician Radiol Res Pract. 2011; 2011:609537. . View in PubMed