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Comprehensive Spine CarePhysiciansLocations

Experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays.
Whether back pain is caused by degenerative changes in the spine caused by age or wear and tear, arthritis, spinal deformities, or other causes, Starling looks at the spine as a whole to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis and recommend the optimal treatment plan to relieve the source of your pain.

A Team Approach

At Starling, we have brought together some of the leading specialists in spine care including an interventional pain management specialist, an orthopaedic spine surgeon, and a physiatrist. Our team works with patients from the initial diagnosis to imaging, consultations, treatment, and follow-up. We provide onsite physical and occupational therapy to aid in recovery. We offer onsite radiology services and order the appropriate imaging studies as needed, including MRI and X-ray.
Our spine team works in close collaboration to develop a customized plan of care for each patient. We expedite referrals so we can get you on the path to recovery as quickly as possible.

Conditions We Treat

We treat the full range of conditions that can cause back pain and limit mobility. This includes:

  • Lower back pain
  • Lumbar radiculopathy and sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space around the spinal column)
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Facet arthropathy (arthritis of the facet joint of the spine)
  • Myelopathy (damage to the spinal cord due to something pressing on it)
  • Herniated disc (also known as a bulged, slipped, or ruptured disc)
  • Degenerative disc disease (a damaged disc that causes pain)
  • Neck pain
  • Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
  • Myofascial pain (constant pain from tight muscles)

Areas of Expertise

Physiatry/Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Physiatry, also called physical medicine and rehabilitation, is a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments, pain, or disabilities.
Our physiatrist, Dr. Kathleen Abbott, specializes in a wide variety of treatments for the musculoskeletal system which includes muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and other structures. She takes a non-opioid approach to pain relief. She works to diagnose and treat both acute pain and chronic pain and provide non-surgical treatments including:

  • Fluoroscopy-guided spinal injections
  • Electrodiagnostic testing (EMG, nerve conduction)
  • Trigger point injections and joint injections
  • Musculoskeletal evaluation
  • Epidural injections thoracic and lumbar
  • Facet injections cervical, thoracic, lumbar and SI joint 
  • Radiofrequency ablation cervical and lumbar

Click here to meet Dr. Abbott>

Spine Surgery

When surgery is required, we offer the most advanced surgical options to address issues of the spine. Dr. Farhan Karim is our highly skilled spine surgeon. He provides personalized attention with an emphasis on education to ensure that you understand your plan of care and know what to expect pre- and post-surgery.

He offers the most advanced and tailored surgical options for each and every patient. He provides personalized attention with an emphasis on education to ensure that you understand your plan of care and know what to expect pre- and post-surgery. He has extensive knowledge of open & minimally invasive techniques. Surgical treatment options include:

  • Cervical and lumbar fusion
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar herniated disc treatment
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal decompression for spinal stenosis
  • Cervical disc replacement
  • Spinal fracture care and trauma
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Spinal deformity and adult degenerative scoliosis
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Robotic-assisted spinal surgery
  • Spinal tumors

Click here to meet Dr. Karim >

Physical Therapy

Our physical therapy experts diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who have back issues or injuries that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they would like in their daily lives. Our physical therapists examine each individual and develop a physical rehabilitation plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. As a part of the plan of care, they determine the patient’s ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness.
Click here to learn more about physical therapy>


Our nationally accredited Radiology Department is comprised of highly trained radiologists and technologists who use state-of-the-art equipment to provide superior service in a comfortable environment.

We offer our patients a suite of comprehensive imaging services including:

  • CT scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • MRA (magnetic resonance angiography)
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray

Click here to learn more about radiology>

Meet Our Team

Dr. Farhan Karim, Orthopaedic SurgeonDr. Farham Karim - Orthopaedics

Dr. Farhan Karim earned his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency training in Orthopaedic Surgery at Northwell Health (formerly North Shore – LIJ Health System) in Long Island, NY.
After successful completion of his residency training, he completed a fellowship in Complex Spine Surgery at the prestigious Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington in Seattle, WA where he served as an Acting Instructor/ Senior Fellow. Harborview Medical Center is the only Level 1 trauma center for the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. These states represent 25% of the landmass in the United States and take severely injured patients from this entire region.
Dr. Karim has a special interest in complex and revision spine surgery, spine trauma, degenerative conditions of the cervical/ lumbar spine as well as adult spinal deformity. He has attended several national conferences and continues to be active in clinical and scientific research.
Prior to his career in orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Karim spent time working on the business side of medicine in an advisory role to hospitals, health systems, and pharmaceutical companies before realizing his true passion was patient care. In addition to disorders of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, Dr. Karim has significant experience in general orthopaedic surgery as well as orthopaedic trauma (fracture care).

Dr. Kathleen Abbott, PhysiatristKathleen Abbott, MD

Dr. Kathleen Abbott is an experienced, board-certified physiatrist who has been practicing in Connecticut for over 15 years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut where she trained as a physical therapist. She practiced for three years and then went on to pursue her medical degree at Tufts University. She did an internship in Internal Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston and a residency in Physiatry at Boston Medical Center. She completed a fellowship at LAGS Spine and Sports in California, studying interventional spinal injections.
Dr. Abbott has a special interest in helping patients with disorders of the spine, neck and back pain, and work-related injuries. She takes a comprehensive approach to diagnose and manage pain in order to maximize function and improve quality of life. She uses a wide range of diagnostic techniques including electromyography (EMG), which is an electrodiagnostic medicine technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. She also performs fluoroscopy-guided spinal injections. She works collaboratively with physical therapists and chiropractors in order to maximize patient function and encourage exercise and mobility.

She is affiliated with Saint Francis Hospital, Johnson Memorial Medical Center, and Johnson Surgery Center.

Hear From Our Team

Below is a helpful 10 minute video where you can hear from each of our team members and learn about what makes the Starling Comprehensive Spine Center so unique.

In the News

Debilitating back pain does not need to ruin your life!  While surgery is often the last resort, it can bring dramatic relief.  Hear one man’s story:

How to Get Started

You don’t need to suffer from back pain any longer! Starling is here to help.
We now have one central number where we can assist you on the path to recovery: (860) 348-4860

Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
Dr. Karim sees patients in New Britain and Glastonbury
(860) 832-4666

Physiatry, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Dr. Abbott sees patients in Enfield, Glastonbury, and New Britain
(860) 749-3045

300 Kensington Avenue, New Britain
(860) 224-6222

Physical Therapy
Our team sees patients in New Britain and Glastonbury
(860) 348-4850

1 Lake Street, Building D, New Britain * 160 Hazard Avenue, Enfield * 289 Western Boulevard, Glastonbury