Nels L. Carlson M.D.

Photo of Nels L. Carlson, M.D.
Faculty profile

Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation School of Medicine

Accepting new patients

4.7 out of 5 (328 Ratings, 116 Comments)


  • Orthopaedics and rehabilitation

Special focus on

  • Electromyography
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Spine
  • Sports Medicine


  • M.D., Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Oregon 1992
  • Residency:

    • Harvard Medical School-Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston
  • Fellowship:

    • Neurophysiology-Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
  • Certifications:

    • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1998, 2008


Dr. Carlson is an associate professor with the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. His primary clinical interests are conservative spine care, sports injuries and electrodiagnostics.


  • English

Patient Ratings

4.7 out of 5 (328 Ratings, 116 Comments)

The patient ratings score is an average of all responses to the question "How likely would you be to recommend this provider to your family and friends (on a scale of 0 to 10)" on our nationally-recognized NRC patient surveys.

Patient Comments

  • Dec 12, 2019

    Very knowledgeable and likeable guy.

  • Dec 11, 2019

    Dr. Carlson took a lot of time to review the results of my xrays and to provide insight around relief of back pain and benefits of exercise vs procedures, even some recommended reading.

  • Dec 05, 2019

    Dr Carlson patiently answered all of my questions and concerns. He additionally gave me practical suggestions for improving my condition.

  • Nov 27, 2019

    Dr. Carlson is a consummate professional.

  • Nov 07, 2019

    Dr. Carlson is the best. He listens to me and provides an updated plan of care as my scoliosis progresses. I always feel relieved after talking to him.

  • Nov 06, 2019

    Dr. Carlson always takes the time necessary to define the next steps in a way that makes me feel very positive about his diagnosis and treatment plan.

  • Nov 05, 2019

    Knowledgeable, explains clearly, asks questions

  • Nov 03, 2019

    Dr. Carlson was very patient and listened to my health concerns. He took time to discuss and show me the recent/past imaging of my joints. He offered to refer me to another OHSU doctor for further treatment.

  • Oct 31, 2019

    Dr. Carlson did a great job of listening to my concerns and responding with very well explained options about the care he thinks would be best for me. He was friendly, professional, and gave me great confidence in his expertise on my condition.

  • Oct 31, 2019

    Clear, concise consult with a Doctor that appeared truly interested and invested in my care. Both in the short term and also in the long term. A very refreshing experience!

  • Oct 23, 2019

    Despite having to wait an hour after the appointment time Dr. Carlson was great - very attentive and caring.

  • Oct 19, 2019

    Excellent spent time explained everything in detail

  • Oct 17, 2019

    Very friendly, knowledgeable doctors and nurses. They take your time when you're in your appointment and are so nice.

  • Oct 17, 2019

    The requested examination was listed for the incorrect arm (left arm but listed at this office as right arm). However; every other part of this visit was stellar. The provider was kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and willing to complete documentation of results immediately after visit so results would be available for follow up the next day with referring provider. I enjoyed that while being professional; he also seemed to view me as a person and spoke to me as an individual. I was very much relieved with how well this appointment went.

  • Oct 16, 2019

    Seen quickly, everything went smooth.

  • Oct 15, 2019

    My Vist was done in a timely manner and great medical advise on my shoulder. Glad to find out what was wrong.

  • Oct 04, 2019

    Clear explanations, caring attitude

  • Oct 03, 2019

    Dr. Carlson and his staff were very thorough, took the time to explain things clearly, and outlined the options available for treatment. A referral was made so that I could explore those options further. I left feeling that they really cared about me.

  • Oct 02, 2019

    Wonderful man. Very helpful with his thorough explanations to me of my condition, reasons for same and potential treatment options.

  • Sep 19, 2019

    Dr Nels Carlson was outstanding. He explained the spinal structure, walked me through the MRI results, explained the implications and options, and recommended a treatment plan. Very informative and patient and responsive to my many questions.

  • Sep 18, 2019

    Very professional service, nice and clean facilities, convenient location

  • Sep 12, 2019

    Dr. Nels Carlsen has been consistent , in the four visits that I have made to him, always courteous, respectful, a careful listener, and a highly informed medical healer. I cannotrecommend him highly enough.

  • Sep 11, 2019

    Appointment was great and in a timely matter.

  • Sep 09, 2019

    Dr. Carlson's demeanor is very professional and he provided me excellent care.

  • Sep 09, 2019

    I was very happy to know the outcome of the MRI of my back and it is recommended that I, just like I figured before, that surgery is inevitable, but he has to do preliminary things to satisfy other people and I'm happy that he can help me. Bye.

  • Sep 01, 2019

    Very good doc. Explains things very well.

  • Aug 24, 2019

    Didn't know what to expect. They had a lot of good ideas which we will explore together.

  • Aug 15, 2019

    Very knowledgeable and showed concern for the patient

  • Aug 13, 2019

    Very understanding and good about trying to find a solution.

  • Aug 12, 2019

    Doctor provided a very thorough explanation of my test results and presented a plan for treating my condition.

  • Aug 07, 2019

    Very professional and easy to understand Dr. Carlson made me feel confident that he understood my problem and will find the proper course of treatment.

  • Aug 07, 2019

    Listened, explained using clear language, asked if I understood

  • Jul 24, 2019

    Very thorough and explained things in a way that was easy to understand, answered all my questions.

  • Jul 19, 2019

    Examination was very thorough and questions timely. Dr Carlson really listened. His advice was clear and his approach conservative.

  • Jul 18, 2019

    Nels is fantastic!! He takes time to thoughtfully explain results and treatment plans. He is thoughtful and kind. He's a gem.

  • Jul 09, 2019

    Extremely poor service. 90 minute wait to see the doctor is unreal! I will never ever go to this facility again as I feel they do not care about their patients. I was told the doctor is always running late, when I checked in I was told they were running 30 minutes behind, yet it took 90 minutes before I saw the doctor. You may cancel my scheduled appointment. Not once did any of the nurses or dr ever apologize for making me wait so very long. If I showed up a few minutes late for an appointment they would cancel and charge me, now I want paid for my time they wasted with no care.

  • Jun 19, 2019

    Wait nearly one hour. Felt like doctor was rushed.

  • Jun 13, 2019

    Dr. Carlson is always friendly caring and compassionate.

  • Jun 13, 2019

    He was helpful & open-minded. Ready to problem solve.

  • Jun 12, 2019

    Timely, professional, took the time to explain everything that was going to happen, friendly, compassionate, etc... Very impressed.

  • Jun 12, 2019

    thorough, knowledgeable, considerate and experienced

  • Jun 06, 2019

    Dr. Nels Carlson is kind, smart, and always listens to me. I just wish all of my other Dr's. provided me with this type of quality care. He is awesome!

  • Jun 05, 2019

    My apt was 45 minutes late, but the doctor was amazing and very comfortable to be around.

  • Jun 02, 2019

    I'm very pleased with the doctor and I think he listens to me and understands what I need and and I would recommend him highly.

  • May 31, 2019

    Listens and gives you an opportunity to ask questions

  • May 31, 2019

    A little confusing. It was a quick 10 minutes. The NP looked at the same x’ray and told me the facet joints had severe arthritis so he ordered an injection in the “sacrum joint” which I had. Now Dr. Nel’s wants me to have a new steroid injection in the facets joints. I am just a patient and confused? Are the facet joints different than the sacrum joint? Anyway, I got no relief from the injection in the sacrum joint. Are they different? I knew when they put the bandaid on me after the injection it seemed not in the area of my pain?

  • May 23, 2019

    The Doctor and all the staff in that medical facility are amazing, and seem to care about you

  • May 23, 2019

    Dr Carlsson was very professional and thorough. He explained things clearlyand helped me be at ease. I look forward to seeing what we can do togetherto help with my chronic back pain.

  • May 18, 2019

    Dr. Nelson is a superb podiatrist who has helped me greatly in understanding my problem and advising me about the best way to approach it in the future and offering me feedback at any point in time when I have questions. I couldn't imagine a more helpful evaluation and response and evaluation in recommendations. Thank you.

  • May 16, 2019

    Dr. Carlson always takes the time to listen and answer as many questions as I have. Even with a non-serious chronic condition like mine, he moves forward with a treatment plan only after ordering tests to rule out more serious issues. I appreciate his respect for his patients.