If you are like most people, you have experienced back, shoulder and neck pain from time to time. In some cases, back pain is caused by a specific accident or injury, but for many people, back pain can be intermittent or fleeting. No matter what the cause of your back pain is, physical therapy may be one of the most effective solutions. It is especially effective when used in conjunction with pain medications, muscle relaxers, and other prescribed treatments. Here are three reasons to consider physical therapy for back pain.
One of the biggest causes of back pain has to do with undue stress placed on your muscles. Whether you are slouching during the day, or lifting too many heavy objects, it is the muscles in your back that are taking the brunt of the abuse. Physical therapy will help you strengthen your muscles by performing a range of exercises. Each exercise will allow you to focus on different regions of your back to address a variety of different pain points.
Physical therapy for back pain can also help undo old damage caused by injuries. During this process, your physical therapist will work with you on daily stretching routines that will allow you to restore range of motion. This is especially helpful if chronic pain has prevented you from making natural movements and is used in some post-surgery treatment regimens. This process will also increase your flexibility over the long run, so that you are less likely to experience another injury in the future.
The third reason that you should consider physical therapy for back pain has to do with learning more about your body. In order to prevent back pain, your therapist will help you learn what proper and improper posture feels like, and provide you with tools to help you practice proper posture when you are not in therapy. This is extremely important for anyone who spends long hours in front of a computer or TV. Poor posture can cause permanent damage to your spine.
Physical therapy for back pain is crucial to building up muscle strength and flexibility so you won’t be susceptible to more back pain as you age. In addition, physical therapy can oftentimes help prevent future back surgeries and more intensive treatments by promoting better back health and building up your back muscles. To learn more about physical therapy for your back pain, contact Royal Spine today to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.
The link between back pain and diet is widely supported. This is because many of the common causes of back pain are directly related to your weight as well as maintaining proper nutrient levels to prevent injury. If you are looking for ways to reduce back pain through simple lifestyle changes, your diet is a great place to start.
Your body needs 8-10 servings of water per day to keep your muscles healthy. In fact, one of the many side effects of dehydration is muscle fatigue and cramping. If you regularly experience cramps in your lower back or shoulders, drinking more water might help. In addition, sugary drinks and sodas are known to have an inflammatory effect, which puts extra pressure on your spinal column.
If you’re looking to build a back pain diet, you really need to learn about your micronutrients. These include Calcium, Omega-3s, and more. Calcium is crucial to back health because it provides your spine with the necessary materials to keep your bones strong, preventing your spinal discs from breaking down prematurely. Eating more fish, whole grains, beans, and legumes can also help fill in any extra micronutrients that your body needs to help keep muscles strong and prevent inflammation. Try cutting out some of your red meat and adding more fresh veggies to keep the cartilage between your bones healthy as well.
Perhaps one of the most widely known causes of back pain is obesity. Carrying extra weight on your body often pulls your spine out of alignment, forces you to use a bad posture, and strains the muscles and bones of your spine. Losing any amount of weight can help relieve that strain, and allow your back to relax into a more natural position. If you feel that you weight may be contributing to your back pain, you can always consult with your back doctor as well as a dietician to create a weight loss plan that will serve to reduce back pain. In the mean time, your back doctor may also give you exercises that are appropriate to any physical limitations you may have. These exercises will contribute to weight loss while also focusing on restoring muscle strength and flexibility in the spine.
As you can see, there are many ways that your diet could be affecting your back health, leading directly to back pain. Creating a back pain diet that takes into account your body’s nutritional needs, as well as your weight loss goals, can go a long way toward eliminating back strain long term. Learning to stay hydrated and well-fed are part of a complete treatment plan with Royal Spine. Call us today to learn more and schedule a consultation with Dr. Abdulhamid.
Having back surgery is a big commitment, and many people are overwhelmed by the thought of undergoing such an invasive procedure. Fortunately, most back surgeries fall into three main categories, which doctors perform regularly with positive results. Here’s a look at three of the most common back surgery types so you’ll know what to expect.
Laminectomy is an invasive surgery that is done to treat a condition called spinal stenosis. This occurs when your spine has compressed and put pressure on your nerves, causing pain. The process of laminectomy requires exposing the affected area of the spine and removing bits of bone and ligaments that could be causing the pressure. This also involves removing any bone spurs that may have grown in the area. Unfortunately, if the laminectomy requires significant bone removal, it is possible that your spine will be destabilized, requiring further treatment in the form of a spinal fusion.
Spinal fusion is used in cases where the spine needs to be strengthened or stabilized to prevent unwanted movement. This is often the case if the vertebrae are grinding against one another or if movement causes pinching of nerves. In this process, a series of screws are inserted into the affected vertebrae, along with a couple of guide cables. As they are tightened, the vertebrae are pulled into position and held steady. Then, bone grafts or special cements will be used to fuse the vertebrae into position so that they cannot move against one another. This process is typically done in small groups, ensuring that you are still able to bend and move flexibly with few limitations. If spinal fusion is required after laminectomy, your doctor will likely perform both procedures together.
The third of the common back surgery types is discectomy. The spinal disc is a soft pad that provides cushioning between your vertebrae. It allows your vertebrae to move without grinding, while also providing a channel for your spinal cord to pass safely through. With some spinal injuries, a disc may slide out of place from between two vertebrae, causing it to bulge and pull on the spinal cord. Depending on the severity of the injury, this surgery may be done through a large incision or with the help of microscopic equipment, limiting the size of the incision and your recovery time. A discectomy requires removing all or part of the affected disc. Your doctor may choose to perform a disc replacement using an artificial disc, which will fill the space between the vertebrae and preserve your flexibility.
While there are several other back surgery types in use today, these three are the most common procedures for patients today. New technology is making it possible to perform these procedures with minimal invasiveness. However, any surgical procedure done on the spine is a major procedure that requires great care. To learn more about back surgery types and treatment options today, contact Royal Spine.
If you have pinched nerves or bulging discs causing pain in your lower back or neck, your back doctor might recommend something called spinal decompression therapy. This therapy comes in several forms, but the main idea is to use a device that slowly stretches your spine, allowing all the discs to realign, and creating space for nutrients to move freely. If you have never experienced this type of therapy in the past, you might be wondering what to expect from your first appointment.
In many cases, your doctor will recommend that you drink plenty of water before you arrive. Proper hydration will go a long way toward making the process more productive by ensuring that your body is prepared to stretch without cramps or other issues. Your doctor may also give you supplements to take in advance so that your body will have everything it needs to make the most of the stretch.
During your spinal decompression appointment, you will be strapped to a machine laying down. These machines vary in design, so your doctor will tell you which way to lay. Once you have been secured safely to the machine, it will begin to apply slow and gentle traction while extending your spine. The machine will work through a series of incremental stretches on the way to a full stretch, depending on your current range of motion. A typical session lasts up to 45 minutes, cycling through stretching and relaxing intervals.
After you have completed your session, your doctor will remind you to drink more water to give your back muscles time to repair themselves. In addition, they will likely give you a few exercises to practice at home between your therapy sessions. This will encourage continued progress and prevent regression during your daily routine. In some cases, your doctor may recommend cold packs or a heating pad to help relax your muscles after treatment and prevent inflammation.
For the most part, spinal decompression therapy requires very little from the patient. Your job is to make sure that your body is properly hydrated and full of healthful nutrients so that the traction and decompression equipment can do its work. It is important that you continue to stretch between appointments and work with your back doctor to address any difficulties through your treatment. To learn more about spinal decompression therapy, contact Royal Spine today and speak with our experts.
In our day to day living, we often overlook one of the essential parts of our bodies, and this comes back to bite us after a couple of years. Although the vertebral column is the foundation of the human body, most people think little of it until it starts causing problems, and this explains the millions of people currently suffering from back complications.
Spine health is foundational to good overall body health, and you should prioritize it every single day. Your spine is a crucial part, and it supports vital physiological functions without which you will be left incapacitated. We should all pay more attention to our spinal health when going about daily activities. Here’s how:
The health of your spine is dependent on the amount of protection you offer to the spine’s supporting structure. Sitting and sleeping for long hours are inevitable in any human’s life and these two activities exert a lot of pressure on the spine’s supporting structures and can cause a lot of damage if the furniture you are using is not good enough.
Invest in a good-quality, ergonomic office chair which offers full support to the back all through the day. It is also imperative to buy a good mattress which provides support to your back while sleeping. These two might look very basic, but they play a crucial role in promoting the health of your spine.
However ergonomic your furniture might be, if you are taking up poor sitting and sleeping positions, your spine’s health will be in jeopardy. With the modern sedentary lifestyle of most people in the world, we end up spending more than 11 hours sitting and 8 hours sleeping which means that assuming the wrong posture will expose your spine to almost 20 hours of damage.
Avoid slouching while sitting down and sit upright at all times. Never use your laptop on the bed or use a bad pillow to sleep. These are the good habits which will improve your spine health and help you avoid getting unwanted spinal complications.
Lifting very heavy objects exerts unbearable pain on the lumbar vertebrae that protect the spine. It is advisable to avoid carrying any weight equivalent to a quarter of your body weight or more, as heavy weight contributes to degeneration of the upper back.
Whether in the gym or around the house, always be extra careful when lifting weights. It is advisable to bend your knees, keep your back straight and gently pick up the weight to avoid exerting sudden pressure on your back. This will keep your spine protected at all times.
Just the way you would report a tooth ache to your dentist, you should be quick to report any back pain to your doctor. The earlier you report the pain to your doctor, the sooner they will diagnose any complication and help you find ways to alleviate it. You should not wait until the pain is unbearable before reporting it.
Are you experiencing symptoms of upper back pain? Are you looking for ways to keep your spine healthy? Here at Royal Spine Surgery, we care a lot about the well-being of your spine, and through our integrated approach, we will diagnose any problems early on, treat any conditions, and advise you on how to keep your spine healthy at all times. Give us a call today and we will assist you.
The natural aging process takes a toll on many vital organs and structures, and the back bears much of that brunt. The lumbar vertebrae, in particular, suffer a lot as one gets older. The lumbar vertebrae are the cylindrical bones of the vertebral column, and they support the body’s weight all through your life.
In between the lumbar vertebrae, are disks which act as shock absorbers whenever there is any tension on the back. Due to strenuous activities and lots of movement in your lifetime, these disks begin shrinking in size and losing their lubrication. As these disks diminish, the lumbar vertebrae bones are left rubbing against each other, and this can cause pain and discomfort.
Although aging is a must, you don’t have to suffer from the annoying pain resulting from lumbar vertebrae and disks deterioration. While some back conditions are the result of disease, you can prevent most back conditions by taking preventative steps.
The posture you assume today at your workplace or in school will determine if your lumbar vertebrae will suffer from damaging conditions or not. Taking up poor sitting positions can lead to too much stress on the lumbar vertebrae and cause pain as the disks degenerate over time.
It is imperative to invest in proper ergonomic furniture that supports your back while you work and ensure that you are always seated upright without slouching. A good posture will ensure that stress is evenly distributed in the back, and you will prevent the chances of complications later on in life.
One effective way of strengthening your lumbar vertebrae is to target the muscles surrounding the your back. These exercises will not only make your back muscles strong, they will increase the range of motion of your back and make you more flexible.
Some of the best exercises include flexion stretches, extension stretches, and aerobics. These are exercises you can do at your home in the morning, in the gym or even in the evening before you go to bed.
Lifting heavy objects exerts unbearable pain on your lumbar vertebrae. It is advisable to avoid carrying any weight equivalent to a quarter of your body weight or more, as heavy weight contributes to degeneration of the upper back.
If you have to lift a weight heavier than a quarter of your body weight, bend your knees and use the right posture to lift the weight gently as you get to your feet slowly.
Just like your office chair, you should invest in a high-quality mattress which supports your back better and always assume the right sleeping positions to avoid putting too much stress on your upper back.
Are you already experiencing symptoms of upper back pain? Are you worried about your lumbar vertebrae? Here at Royal Spine Surgery, we care a lot about the well-being of your back, and through our integrated approach, we will diagnose any problems early on, treat any conditions, and advise you on how to keep your back healthy at all times. Contact us today with any questions you may have.
In the daily hassles of life, with running errands and getting things done, it is normal to experience back pain from fatigue. Although back pain is not all too strange, you should always treat it with a lot of care. Back pains are indicative of a serious underlying problem, and you should not always brush them aside.
Although some back pains are purely from fatigue, other back pains can result in severe and potentially life-threatening complications. The problem is you can’t possibly tell the difference between the harmless back pains and those that pose a threat to your health. Therefore, it is imperative to report back pain to your doctor as soon as possible.
It Could Be Worse than You Imagine
That pain you are ignoring and trying to treat with pain killers could be indicative of damage to your nerves. Damage to nerves in the back can leave you disabled if not sorted out in time. The pain felt from fatigue is similar to that felt from damaged nerves, so it should always be reported and diagnosed.
Invasive Pain Affects Your Productivity
The other reason why you should report back pain to the doctor immediately is that the pain gets in the way and disrupts your daily life. With back pain, your productivity may be reduced and you can hardly concentrate or do what is expected of you. Reporting back pain and getting proper medication will help you get back to doing what you love most.
Your Back is More Important Than You Think
Your back is just as important as the heart or any other vital organ in the body. Ignoring back pain means that you are overlooking the importance of a foundational organ in your body. The spinal cord holds the central nervous system, and damage to it is almost irreversible.
The sooner you report your back pains, the sooner you get the medication you need and lower the chances of needing more attention in the future. Failure to report back illnesses to your doctor soon enough can see the problem escalating to levels which require more money and time to treat. Simply reporting the issue to your doctor on time can prevent all this and save you the pain.
If you are looking for the best doctor to report your back pains to, look no further than Royal Spine Surgery. Under the guidance of the experienced Dr. Abdulhamid, we offer top of the range medical services targeting back and spinal health. We focus on an integrated approach in our treatment, employ the latest technology and equipment in our work, and avoid invasive procedures that will get in the way of your daily life. Give us a call today.
What is next after being diagnosed with severe dorsalgia? What is the best treatment option to opt for when your doctor diagnoses you with dorsalgia? Is it better to proceed with surgery or manage the pain through conservative therapy? Keep reading to learn more about dorsalgia, including treatments and therapy options.
For starters, dorsalgia is severe back pain, which could be coming from different parts of the spine. Depending on the specific section of the spine where the pain is coming from, there are six types of dorsalgia. These are:
The seriousness of the dorsalgia is dependent on the area of the spine it is affecting and the probable cause of the pain. To accurately determine the cause of the pain, you need a proper, accurate diagnosis, and we can do that for you here at Royal Spine Surgery.
There are two treatment options for dorsalgia: conservative therapy and surgical treatment. A doctor pegs the choice of treatment for dorsalgia on the diagnosis and etiology. Etiology is the determining of the cause of a given condition and its severity.
Before settling on a specific treatment option, a good doctor will carefully analyze the results from the diagnosis, use etiology to determine the probable causes and talk to the patient about what suits them best.
Here is a look at the two treatment options for dorsalgia and what they entail here at Royal Spine Surgery:
A doctor elects to use conservative therapy to treat dorsalgia if the conditions are not very severe, and it is in its initial stages. The treatment involves the use of over the counter pain killers, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy and pain management interventions for possible injections.
Pain management injections might be considered if other forms of conservative therapies are not suppressing the conditions causing the pain. The doctor will inject anti-inflammatory drugs into the affected area and see if it will help treat the condition. Such injections can also help establishing and confirming a suspected diagnosis and the cause of pain.
If these conservative measures are not working, then the doctor will have to opt for treatment option number two.
A doctor chooses to use surgery to treat dorsalgia if, after close examination of the diagnosis report, he/she determines that the condition behind the pain is severe and needs surgery to rectify the condition. Surgery also comes into the picture if therapy is not working, and the condition is worsening.
The type of surgery depends on the cause of dorsalgia. There are different types of dorsalgia surgeries, such as microdiscectomy to treat herniation of the discs, electrical stimulation to block pain signals from reaching the brain, spinal fusion to fuse two discs to relieve pain, and artificial disc replacement used to replace the affected disc with an artificial disc.
Here at Royal Spine Surgery, we focus on an integrated approach when treating dorsalgia and will always opt for the treatment option we deem the best for your condition. We try as much as possible to avoid invasive surgeries and have invested in modern technology to make our work easy and more effective. Give us a call today and we will relieve you from the shackles of dorsalgia.
We’ve all heard of the dreaded spinal fusion surgery. For most of us, that brings up images of major back surgery, going under the knife for hours, and waking up with rods and pins in our backs. But, spinal fusion has come a long way in the last few years and now it is being used in a number of new ways that are far less invasive than before. Here’s the latest on spinal fusion surgeries and when they’re used. However, in order to understand how spine fusion surgery works, we need to review some basic simple anatomy and define the vertebral motion segment.
A vertebral motion segment consists of; 1. any two adacent vertebrae, 2. the three joints that connect these two vertebrae together, that is, the disk in the front and the two facet joints in the back, and 3. the ligaments that support and stabilize this unit. It is the three joints, the disk and the facet joints, between each two adjacent vertebrae that allow mobility across the vertebral segment. As these joints go through wear-and-tear and start to degenerate, a vertebral motion segment will start to lose its mobility.
Spinal fusion is the process of fusing a single vertebral motion segment, or multiple vertebral motion segments, to form a single bone structure.
Spinal fusion can be done through an anterior (from the front) approach, a lateral (from the side) approach, a posterior (from the back) approach, or a combination of the above. The approach will depend on the specific pathology/condition, the accessibility of the motion segment(s) being addressed, and the surgeon preferrance and skills.
In some cases, decompression of the spinal cord and/or the nerves, by means of a laminectomy, facetectomy and/or discectomy, is indicated.
Implants, including screws and rods, are used to stabilize the motion segment(s) so that a solid fusion can be achieved across the motion segment(s). In cases where a complete discectomy is performed, an interbody cage, or spacer, is placed inside the empty disk space as well. Once the motion segment(s) is/are stabilized, it will typically take up to a few months before achieving a complete solid fuison.
It must be noted that most cases of neck or back pain can be managed and addressed through conservative non-surgical options first, such as, physical therapy, chiropratic therapy, massage therapy, and pain management interventions. Spine surgery, in most instances, should be considered a last resort. This is very true when it comes to spinal fusion surgery. However, there are certain circumstances and conditions when spinal fusion surgery is clearly indicated, for example, in correcting a spinal deformity, such as scoliosis, in fixing a fracture of the spine, and in addressing spinal instability. A spine surgeon might also discuss the need for a spinal fusion surgery if they anticipated the need to remove a significant amount of the stabilizing structures of the motion segment(s), thus, creating instability, in order to address a specific pathology, such as removal of a tumor or treating an infection.
In the past, spinal fusion surgery was more invasive and required extensive planning, operative time, hospital stay and recovery time. However, recent advances in material used for implants, in material used to aid and augment fusion, or biologics, in minimally invasive techniques and approaches, in navigation and image guidance, and in robotic spine surgery have revolutionized the field of spinal fusion surgery. These advances have significantly increased the safety of and improved the outcome of spinal fusion surgery while remarkably reducing the risks and the length of time required for surgery, for hospitalization and for reccovery.
If you’ve been living with chronic and severe neck or back pain, and you’re looking for permanent treatment options, contact Dr. Abdulhamid and Royal Spine today. We specialize in avoiding major spinal surgeries like spinal fusion by offering modern technologies and utilizing minimally invasive approaches. We only use spinal fusion as a last resort, and we will work with you to determine whether or not it is the right option for you. We’ve helped hundreds of patients just like you regain their qualty of life without resorting to spinal fusion surgery.
Lower back pain can strike at the worst moments. While sometimes back pain is a sign that there’s something important wrong, other times it can simply be a result of strain, sleeping in the wrong position, or muscle tightness. Knowing how to treat it at home will keep it from ruining your weekend plans or cutting into your vacation time. Use these simple tips and exercises to relieve back pain right away.
Ice packs and heat packs are a helpful tool for relieving lower back pain at home, but you have to know when to use which. At the moment that you know you’ve pulled a muscle or injured your back, it is time to grab an ice pack. Ice your back in 20 minute increments throughout the day, and give your body time to recover and stretch in-between icing sessions. After the first 2-3 days, use a heat pad in 15-20 minute stretches to continue treatment. Ice helps reduce swelling in the immediate aftermath of a back injury, and heat helps manage the aches that result days later.
While you’re working on your ice and heat routine, you should also consider an over-the-counter pain medicine. Aleve and Ibuprofen are formulated to help treat the pain faster, and provide you with relief for several hours at a time. This is especially important if you’re heading to work. Just make sure you follow the directions closely.
Exercises that are effective for relieving lower back pain include core stretches, hamstring stretches and butt lifts. Take it slow and make sure that you aren’t using heavy weights. In addition, make sure that you have properly stretched before you exercise, and have someone spot you to ensure proper form so you don’t pull other muscles in the process. Yoga and other slow-movement exercises are a good option for those who have severe pain and limited mobility. When you are done, consider using a foam roller to help relax the lower back muscles. Foam rollers can be purchased at many stores in the sporting goods department.
If you find that you are unable to relieve your lower back pain at home on your own, seek medical help from a professional. Royal Spine Surgery is here to take your call so you can schedule a consultation with our spinal expert, Dr. Abdulhamid. Don’t let lower back pain keep you from living your life. Get on a treatment plan today and you’ll be good as new in no time.
As we spend more time sitting in office chairs and watching TV, people find themselves suffering from lower back pain, or lumbago. Lumbago is the term that doctors use to describe a number of different symptoms that originate with pain in the lower back muscles. Here we will look at common causes of lumbago and how it is treated.
Lumbago is typically described as mild to severe pain in the lower back. Most people feel the pain most prominently near their spine, but it tends to radiate outward and can even feel like cramps in the buttocks, groin, and thighs. In other cases, the cramps travel upward to the neck and shoulders, causing a stiffening sensation. This occurs because the muscles in the lower back are spasming, causing them to contract beyond your control, which puts pressure on the body and prevents you from moving freely. Lumbago strikes sporadically, and you may experience bouts of pain-free living interrupted by a sudden onset of pain which takes a few weeks to heal.
Treatment for lumbago varies widely depending on the cause and severity of the case. The best way to prevent future attacks is to make sure that you are staying active and stretching regularly. This keeps the muscles of the lower back healthy, and they will be less likely to spasm. Core exercises, proper posture, and regular stretches can all prevent occurences of lumbago. When the pain is at its worst, doctors often prescribe pain medications and steroids to help dull the aches and pains, as well as strengthening the muscles. You may also use an ice pack or a heat pad to help your muscles relax, and your doctor may recommend special medical equipment or furniture to adjust your posture so that your lower back will feel less strain.
Lumbago is a growing problem among people of all ages. For the most part, it is a temporary condition that can be remedied with proper exercise and stretching, but for those who experience ongoing pain in the lower back, more advanced treatments are available. Dr. Abdulhamid is an expert in treating chronic lumbago cases, and can help you find a treatment and maintenance plan that will help you manage your pain and get the most out of life. To learn more about treatment options and proper exercises for strengthening your lower back muscles, contact Royal Spine Surgery today and schedule a consultation right away.
Neck pain is one of the most common problems people complain about when they go to see a doctor. For many people, neck pain starts as a dull ache and can eventually turn into a chronic problem that causes shoulder pain, headaches, and other issues that affect the rest of the body. However, neck pain can’t be attributed to just one thing, and it’s hard to diagnose the underlying cause of your neck pain on your own. So what should you do when you start to feel neck pain building up?
Perhaps the most common cause of neck pain is poor sleeping habits. Sleeping in a bad position, using a pillow or mattress that doesn’t support your head and neck properly, and sleeping for too long or too short of a period can all contribute to neck pain. Neck pain caused by sleep related issues usually isn’t chronic or serious at the outset, but if you don’t correct your mattress, pillow, or sleeping position you could end up with strained muscles that take weeks to heal. Most of the time, your regular doctor will not be able to help with this type of pain until you resolve the underlying issues. In the meantime, you can test to see if this is the cause by trying different sleep positions and noting if your neck pain only occurs in the mornings right after you wake up, but goes away after you’ve had some time to stretch. If so, Ibuprofen and stretching can solve the problem.
If your neck pain is not related to your sleep habits, it’s possible that there could be something more serious going on. This is especially true if your pain is constant and worsening, and if it causes nerve pain or stress headaches. These may all be signs that you have damaged disks in your neck, or a pinched nerve that needs treatment. If you have been in a car accident or suffered some other sudden jolt to the neck, you should see a specialist who can determine if you are suffering from whiplash.
If you or a loved one suffers from constant and worsening neck pain, it may be time to get a formal diagnosis from Royal Spine. Dr. Abdulhamid has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating causes of chronic neck pain. We can help determine the cause of your neck pain and offer treatment solutions that will reduce muscle strain, headaches and other symptoms. Contact us today to learn more.
When it comes to performing spinal surgeries, the medical community has seen a wealth of new technologies coming available in recent years. One of these recent developments is the use of ultrasonic spine surgery tools. This method is designed to reduce recovery time and boost results while being minimally disruptive. Here’s what you need to know:
Ultrasonic surgical tools use ultrasound waves directed at the injured area to effectively reshape and remove damaged tissue and bone. This allows your surgeon to treat only the areas that need to be treated without causing major disruptions to the surrounding tissue and muscle. It also means that more of the original bone and tissue is preserved during the surgery, and fewer screws, rods, and other implants are needed to get the job done. This also reduces the need for permanent fusion, since more natural tissue and support remains in order to maintain stability and mobility.
Ultrasonic spine surgery is an incredibly versatile option that has been used for a wide range of spinal injuries and illnesses ranging from degenerative disc disease to bone spurs and failed back surgery syndrome. It has proven successful for all of these purposes because it replaces a more invasive surgical procedure. In addition, this procedure is perfect for cases where previous surgeries have caused scar tissue or other damage that needs correcting, because it will not exacerbate the existing problem or lead to more scarring that could be equally detrimental.
One of the biggest benefits of ultrasonic spine surgery is the reduction in recovery time associated with this minimally disruptive procedure. Typical back surgery requires a recovery period of up to six months, but with ultrasonic surgery, you could see your recovery happen in as little as six weeks. This is because the ultrasonic tool causes less damage to the entire area surrounding your spinal injury, so your body can focus on healing only the area that really needs it.
Whether you have previously undergone spinal surgery or not, ultrasonic spine surgery might be the solution you are looking for. Dr. Abdulhamid is proud to offer ultrasonic surgical options to patients who qualify. Through his association with Sonospine, he offers this cutting-edge method using specialized, perfected techniques. Our team can give you more information about the unique benefits of this surgical method, and how it could help you achieve better results, even if you have had spinal surgery before. Contact us today to learn more or watch our videos about the ultrasonic process so you can see the difference for yourself.
Back pain is one of the most frustrating and debilitating forms of pain that can plague us. Oftentimes, what starts out as a mildly sore back can turn into a chronic problem that prevents us from enjoying life. Fortunately, there are a few simple exercises you can do to strengthen your back and relieve back pain at the same time.
The best back exercises for back pain are those that straighten and lengthen your spine, as opposed to those that curl or curve your back. For instance, straight leg hamstring stretches while laying on your back are a good way to keep your spine flat and build the supporting muscles, whereas standing up and bending to touch your toes actually causes you to curve your back and could be counter productive.
Another good example is performing wall sits, which support your back and keep your spine straight, while also helping to improve the muscles of your abdomen so that your back doesn’t have to work as hard. This is better than planks or leg lifts, which put too much strain on your lower back without enough support.
Another important part of doing back exercises to reduce back pain is making sure that you are choosing slow and gentle stretches and exercises over rapid movements. For instance, laying on your stomach and slowly raising your chest off the ground until you are in the serpent pose is good, but rapidly wrenching yourself up and back could cause damage. In addition, laying on your back and bringing your knees up to your chest one at a time, holding for a moment, and then releasing is a very effective back exercise, while sit-ups and crunches tend to invite rapid, jerky movements that strain the back.
As you can see, reducing back pain with back exercises is possible and recommended, but you must choose the right exercises for the job. It is also important to remember that back pain can be reduced by strengthening your core muscles and your leg muscles, because those areas provide additional support that takes strain off of your lower back. Choose a good mix of exercises that will work on all of these areas for the best result. To learn more, contact Royal Spine today and we can help you find the right exercises for your body.
Back spasms happen for all kinds of reasons, and people of all ages can experience them in varying degrees. For some, back spasms are a mildly painful event that happens from time to time, but for others, back spasms can become a chronic source of extreme pain leaving you breathless and unable to walk and function. If you believe you are experiencing lower back spasms of your own, it’s time to read up on possible solutions.
A back spasm occurs when the muscles in your back suddenly contract unintentionally. This causes your back to stiffen, and it applies pressure to your entire spinal column, which can cause significant pain. These spasms may last a few seconds or go on for several minutes until the tension is released.
There are many reasons that back spasms occur. For instance, lifting heavy objects during a move can cause muscle and tendon strain that results in back spasms for a few days. On the other hand, repetitive stress injuries to the back could lead to ongoing problems due to permanent damage to the muscles, tendons, and disks. Once this damage has occurred, back spasms might increase in frequency and intensity until they become a serious problem.
For those who experience only mild back spasms, most treatment options do not involve surgery. For instance, strengthening the muscles of the back and abdomen will protect you against further stress injuries the next time you lift or move heavy objects. Resting for only a few days, applying ice packs or heating pads to the injured area could also help in such mild cases. In addition, your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory drug, or a cortisone injections, which will reduce pressure and swelling in the area, giving your back time to heal. This might be all you need to alleviate future back spasms altogether. Finally, in extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to address an underlying structural cause, such as a pinched nerve or a herniated disc, when all other conservative measures have failed.
If you are experiencing worsening back spasms and lower back pain, we invite you to contact the team at Royal Spine Surgery today. Dr. Abdulhamid and his team can help diagnose the source of your back spasms and begin treatment to prevent any further injuries from worsening the problem. Don’t wait until your back spasms have become unbearable to get the treatment you need. The sooner your back spasms are addressed, the less invasive the treatment will be.
If you have recently undergone back surgery of any kind, you were probably relieved at the thought of being pain-free in the immediate aftermath. Unfortunately, some people continue to experience some discomfort even after a successful surgery. If you are one of those people, there are a few things you should know about your body’s response in the aftermath of intensive back surgery.
The important thing to understand about back surgery is that each case is unique, and the road to recovery differs from one person to the next. However, the vast majority of these surgeries can be said to have been successful. The problem is that the pain associated with the surgery can take some time to go to away as your body recovers from the process. For most successful surgeries, pain will begin to decrease in a few weeks as the damaged nerves and discs are finally able to recover from the stress. This is normal.
In a small percentage of cases, patients experience a new and different type of pain that occurs some time after surgery. If you notice that your pain begins to worsen when it is supposed to be fading away, it is important to get in touch with your doctor. In some cases, persistent or new pain is a sign of a postoperative complication, such as a blood clot, or is a sign of a newly developed additional problem, such as a recurrent disc herniation. These conditions can be corrected with the help of further testing and diagnosis, but it is important to address back pain after surgery as soon as you notice that something isn’t right.
If you find that you are experiencing back pain, make sure to contact Royal Spine Surgery today. Our team of experts can help you get to the root of the problem. We can help you develop a care plan going forward to help your back heal properly and reduce any future pain caused by degenerative discs or other back injuries in your past.
Here at Royal Spine, we utilize advanced spinal surgery methods that reduce postoperative back pain. To learn more, schedule a consultation today.
For those who suffer from chronic back pain and pinched nerves, spinal decompression may be the answer. Spinal decompression is designed to reduce pressure on the nerves by enlarging the spaces around them. This procedure is typically a last resort when all other therapy options and treatments have been exhausted.
Spinal decompression is a surgical procedure used to treat symptoms and signs caused by stenosis, or narrowing, around the spinal nerves within the spinal canal and/or the spinal neural foraminae, the exits through which the nerves leave the spinal canal.
Spinal stenosis, or narrowing, will cause compression of the nerves which can lead to the development of lower back and/or leg symptoms, such as pain, sciatica, tingling, numbness, weakness, or bowel and bladder dysfunction. The cause of stenosis could be from the disc, such as a herniated disc, from degenerative changes of the facet joints and disc, from misalignment or slippage of the vertebrae, or from thickening of ligaments in the spine. In most causes, however, stenosis is caused by a combination of the above leading to narrowing around the nerves as they pass through the central spinal canal or as they exit the central canal through the neural foraminae.
Based on the specific structure causing stenosis, various spinal decompression surgical procedures exist that describe how the specific structure is being addressed to decompress the nerves. Thus, spinal decompression procedures can include laminectomy, facetectomy, foraminotomy, and discectomy.
Laminectomy is a procedure that involves removing the posterior wall of the spinal canal, formed by the vertebral lamina and posterior yellow ligament. A laminectomy procedure can involve removal of the entire vertebral lamina, complete laminectomy, or removal of only a portion of the lamina, partial laminectomy. This will result in enlargement of the spinal canal and decompression of the spinal nerves passing through the spinal canal.
Facetectomy is a procedure that involves removing part of the facet joints to enlarge the spinal canal and lateral recesses. A complete facetectomy involves removal and resection of the entire facet joint which would lead to instability, thus, necessitating instrumentation and fusion. A partial facetectomy involves removal of part of the facet joint only.
Foraminotomy is a procedure that involves enlarging the neural foramina through which a spinal nerve is exiting the spinal canal.
Discectomy is a procedure that involves removal of the disc material that is causing compression of the nerve. When a surgical microscope is being used, the procedure is commonly described as microdiscectomy. A complete discectomy involves removal of the entire disc material while a partial discectomy involves removal of only a portion of the disc, more specifically removal of the herniated disc fragment responsible for nerve impingement.
The decision to undergo spinal surgery of this type is not to be taken lightly. Your doctor will need to refer you to a specialist in order to determine which procedure is right for you. Your doctor might also recommend a series of non-invasive therapies that may help reduce swelling and strain on your spine before going ahead with surgery. While therapy may provide temporary relief, no current therapy exists to provide a permanent solution, which is why surgery can often be the eventual treatment.
If your pinched nerves have reached the point of causing chronic or debilitating pain during normal activity, it is time to speak to your doctor about spinal decompression surgery. Performing the appropriate spinal decompression procedure, we can reduce the pressure on your nerve roots and take the discomfort out of sitting, standing, and walking. While the procedures described above can be performed through traditional surgical approaches, Dr. Abdulhamid is highly experienced in cutting-edge procedures utilizing minimally invasive techniques during spinal surgery. Here at Royal Spine Surgery, we’re also experienced with other advanced technologies and tools like the revolutionary Coflex® that can be used in order to stabilize the spine and provide better results than decompression surgery alone, and can avoid the need for fusion surgery. Contact Royal Spine Surgery today to schedule a consultation visit.
Our lower back is responsible for much of the twisting, turning, lifting, and straightening that we do throughout our lives. Unfortunately, it is also an area that is commonly injured in day to day activities. In other words, most people experience lower back pain at some point or another, even if they are not involved in any particularly strenuous activities. Here’s why:
The simple truth is that aging can have a negative impact on spinal health. Your lower back starts out flexible and strong, able to recover quickly from any task you put it to. However, as we age, the discs and facet joints that connect our vertebrae together will continue to degenerate leading to a stiffer and less flexible spine. Thus, trying to lift or twist can cause undue stress to the vertebrae even if you are performing an action that you have done oftenly in the past.
Lower back pain can also be caused by poor habits in your daily life. For instance, remaining sedentary for extended periods of time in front of a computer or TV, or slouching in a chair or driver’s seat can cause your lower back to change shapes in response to your posture. Proper exercise and stretching are a good way to protect yourself against lower back pain through the years. This is important because most people experience this type of pain associated with long hours spent at the office over the course of a career. Make the most of your daily breaks to stretch your spine and take a little walk.
Perhaps the most notable of lower back pain causes is pain associated with sprains and strains. This pain is different from other lower back pain because it comes on suddenly after your back has been put under stress. The problem is that your spine heals rather slowly, so even a minor sprain or strain can cause pain for weeks on end. Sprains and strains happen most often when someone attempts to lift something that is too heavy, or repeatedly lifts heavy objects using their back instead of their legs. This puts extreme stress on the lower back and can cause ligaments and muscles to tear, as well as increasing the risk of herniated discs, crushed vertebrae, and more. Depending on the severity of the injury, rest, therapy, or surgery may be needed to recover.
If you are suffering from ongoing lower back pain, and you want to narrow down the causes, Royal Spine Surgery is here for you. Our team will work with you to diagnose the exact cause of your pain, and look for solutions so that you can enjoy life without nerve and muscle pain in your lower back. Contact us today to learn more.
Most of us spend the majority of our working hours in a chair at the computer. It isn’t often that we stop to think about our back pain, unless it’s constant throughout the work day. Here are some of Dr. Abdulhamid’s suggestion for a few small steps you can take to prevent back pain at the office.
One of the most common options for treating back pain on your own is through a back brace or heating pad. Heating pads can provide temporary relief from pain and can be adhered directly to your skin, or incorporated into a brace. For more comprehensive support and relief, a back brace may be necessary. Worried about maintaining the office dress code with a back brace? Don’t worry. Many back braces are designed today to be worn under clothing discreetly to provide both comfort and function.
The clothing and accessories we wear can even have an impact on our back pain, such as high heels, excessively tight or restrictive clothing and heavy jewelry or bags. Potentially cleaning out your bag or taking a look at your wardrobe may help spot potential sources of back pain.
Many people only get up from their desks if they have a meeting or to take a bathroom break. Instead of sitting at a desk for hours on end, there are many benefits to getting up for five minutes every hour, even just to stand up, stretch, or walk. While this can have productivity benefits, movement and walking can also help alleviate back pain.
Chair yoga is a great way to prevent back pain at the office. What is chair yoga? Chair yoga is simply doing modified yoga exercises in a chair. It looks similarly to doing twists or simple stretches while sitting in a chair, but doesn’t require you to pretzel yourself into a yoga pose on the floor. Here are four poses you can do now right at your desk.
Not many of us consciously think about sitting with proper posture. Often, our way of sitting is so habitual that we don’t stop to think about how we are slouching at our desks. This can be detrimental to our health, as poor posture over time can contribute to postural kyphosis, what is commonly known as having a hunched or rounded back. This specific type of kyphosis can be corrected with proper posture, so next time you catch yourself slouching, follow these tips to help improve your posture.
If you’re experiencing back pain and need assistance beyond your own techniques to find relief, contact Royal Spine Surgery and request an appointment today.
When nighttime falls, most of us have no problem falling asleep. For others, rest doesn’t come as easily as they’d like. Pain can cause our bodies to miss out on the sleep needed to heal, further exacerbating our misery when we wake up.
For those who experience back pain at night, here are some tips for the best ways to get that much needed shut eye.
Pillows aren’t just for your head. They can provide valuable support for your back as well. There are many different ways to support your back during the night with the aid of an extra pillow, including putting it between or under your knees, depending on how you’re positioned. Next time, maybe grab an extra pillow and try one of these 5 best sleeping positions to ease your back pain.
For those who experience back pain, your sleeping position is one of the simplest and most crucial things you can change to help alleviate your pain. Of the three main sleeping positions, sleeping on your stomach is considered the worst, due to its constrictive nature. Sleeping on your back is the most optimal position to sleep in. It takes a lot of fluffy pillows, but you can train yourself to sleep on your back. For those who prefer to sleep on their sides, there are ways to help alleviate back pain, mostly with the strategic aid of a pillow.
Chances are the one you’re sleeping on is too old. Mattresses should be replaced every 7-8 years or so. Over time, our mattresses decline in quality, which can cause a myriad of sleep problems, including back pain. When going to the mattress store, be sure to take your time trying out each mattress, as a new mattress is the key to a good night’s sleep. Your pillow can also be a cause of back pain, as your pillow predominantly supports your neck and promotes proper alignment. If you’re experiencing back pain at night, it might be time to get a new pillow, as well.
Sleeping with your electric heating pad is dangerous and can lead to fires or skin burns, even if it has an auto shutoff function. If you’re looking to ease your pain while you sleep, a recommended method is to use a microwaveable heating pad. This way, the heat dies off as you fall asleep and there is no risk of waking up with a bad burn.
If you’re not sleeping well and need assistance in locating the source of your back pain, Royal Spine Surgery can help. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
Spine health is a matter of significant importance as we age. Unfortunately, for the first generation whose lives are dominated by computers and TVs, we are already seeing some major spinal problems developing among those who spend long hours sitting, even when they are still young! Combined with weight gain and other health issues that are prevalent today, our spines are suffering. That’s why at Royal Spine Surgery, Dr. Abdulhamid has put together five daily exercises to improve your spinal health.
If you have space to lay down on the floor, you have space to do Supermans. This exercise helps build muscle from the top of your shoulders all the way down to your glutes. Just lay down on your stomach, and then slowly raise up your legs and your arms until you are balanced on your abs. Make sure you squeeze your shoulders together as you lift. Hold for a few seconds and then lower yourself back down.
Lay on your back with your feet planted near your butt. Lift only your hips, arching your back upwards so that you are resting on your shoulders, then lower yourself back down slowly. Make sure your feet are pressed firmly into the ground and you are getting a full stretch without putting pressure on your neck when you go up.
Similar to Supermans, start this exercise laying on your stomach. Instead of raising your arms and legs together, start by lifting alternating arms and legs. When your left leg goes up, your right arm goes up, and vice versa. Do 10-12 reps and then take a rest. Again, make sure that you are activating your shoulders when you raise your arm, rolling them back for a good stretch.
With your hands and knees planted shoulder width apart, start by taking a deep breath in and pushing your belly down toward the ground, arching your back until you feel the stretch all the way through your tail bone. Now breathe out and reverse the stretch, sucking your bellybutton toward your spine and arching your back upwards until you can feel it from your shoulders to tail bone.
Reverse flys can be done with or without dumbbells depending on your skill level, although we recommend starting without weight until you get the movement down properly. Start standing with your feet hip width apart, bend your knees slightly and bend forward at the waist to a 45 degree angle. Now put your arms out straight and lift them up at your sides and back to pinch your shoulder blades together. Practice this movement several times to ensure you are using the correct muscle groups before you add weight.
These five back exercises can be done at home or at the gym. You can find many alternate versions if you have limited range of movement or limited space. Practicing these back exercises for just fifteen minutes a day can reduce lower back pain and help build stronger muscles in the long run.
If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s recommended that you consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise routine. However, exercise and lifestyle adjustments are often the best first plan of attack when it comes to back pain. If you’re experiencing back pain that interrupts your quality of life, set up an appointment with us today. We believe in taking an integrated, holistic approach to back pain, helping our patients to avoid surgery whenever possible, and utilizing the most advanced methods of spine surgery to speed recovery and avoid spinal fusion.
For thousands of people, waking up with a sore back is a rite of passage. Each day begins anew with a cramp in the lower back or a dull ache. In many cases, it is the very mattress that you sleep on that is the source of your pain. So before you come home and lay down to rest your tired back, read on to see if your mattress is the culprit. Here are two major signs that you have the wrong mattress:
One sure sign that your mattress may be at the heart of your problems is waking up multiple times in the middle of the night. Likewise, if you toss and turn and struggle to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, this is also a sign that your mattress is a problem.
Another clear indicator that your mattress is at fault is waking up with back pain. Usually, mattress-related back pain goes away with a few stretches and regular activity throughout the day. If you notice that your back pain diminishes by lunch time, it’s probably a bad mattress that’s making your mornings harder. If left unaddressed, this morning back pain can develop into a chronic problem, especially if you don’t replace your mattress for 5-10 years.
The real difficulty with choosing a mattress is that they come in such a wide range of firmnesses. You may think that a soft mattress will be better because it allows you to sink into the fabric and relax. In reality, a mattress that is too soft will not support your spine during the night. On the other hand, a mattress that is too firm could be putting undue pressure on your spine during the night, holding it in an unnatural position. You may need to try a wide range of mattresses to find one in the right zone for your body. As you test mattresses in the store, make sure that you lay down in several different positions to get a true feel for the pressure on your body. Many people lay flat on their backs to test a bed, although that is not a normal sleeping position for them. This may give you the wrong information about which mattress to choose.
The right mattress can make a world of difference when it comes to improving your sleep and eliminating back pain. If you notice early morning back pain on a regular basis, it is time to start thinking about finding a replacement. Don’t settle for a mattress that doesn’t feel right.
If, however, you are experiencing back pain that persists throughout the day and doesn’t seem to be related to your sleeping schedule, it may be time to set up a consultation to help diagnose the cause of your pain. Give us a call and request an appointment today.
If you, like millions of people worldwide, love a round of golf on the weekends, you probably already know that the game can put some strain on your back. Fortunately, there are ways that you can proactively take care of your back while still enjoying the sport you love. Here are some of Dr. Abdulhamid’s recommendations to help reduce pain before you hit the green.
Golf is real exercise, and it takes a toll on your body. Starting cold is a surefire way to end up hyperextending your muscles. Instead, get in the habit of stretching regularly, whether you’re playing 18 holes or just doing a few practice swings on your lunch break. It is always best to warm up by stretching your back, sides, shoulders, and hips. Doing windmill stretches and hip circles is a simple way to start.
While your back may take the brunt of the abuse from your golf swing, it is actually your core muscles that have the biggest influence on your flexibility and strength. By strengthening your core with sit-ups, planks, bridges, and reverse leg lifts, you can hold your body steady even as you finish out your swing. This will reduce the strain felt in your lower back.
There is nothing as dangerous for your back as a faulty swing. Whether your balance is off or you just tweak your back on the back swing, there are a multitude of ways that you can hurt yourself if you aren’t careful. With the help of a trainer and some training equipment, you can ensure that your swing is as close to perfect as possible.
Ditch the shoulder bag and opt for a rolling cart for your clubs instead. Walk when you can, and take a golf cart if you start to feel the strain on your back. It is always best to take it easy at the first sign of discomfort and strain rather than risking a serious back injury by pushing yourself too hard.
These four tips will help support your back health while you continue to enjoy golf whenever you’d like. Remember that proper stretching and core workouts in between games can make a big difference in back strength, as can training your swing. Having convenient equipment on hand will make life easier once you start to wear down as you progress through the game.
Are you experiencing back pain? Here at Royal Spine Surgery, we focus on an integrated approach, encouraging lifestyle changes that will support ongoing back health. To learn more contact us today.
Spine surgery is a serious matter, and avoiding overexertion afterward is essential to support your recovery. By preparing your home well in advance, you can ensure that your recovery is as smooth as possible, and minimize your discomfort during this time. Here are some of Dr. Abdulhamid’s tips for preparing your home before your big spine surgery.
After your surgery, you can expect some discomfort when it comes to bending or lowering yourself onto a bed. If your bed is not already at hip level, you may want to raise it up so that you can easily roll into bed without having to shift around or bend over too much.
Nothing could be worse than tripping on rugs or cords as you walk through your home after your surgery. Now is the time to make sure that your floors and walkways are clear so that you won’t have to step over things that might obstruct your pathway.
Try moving all the things that you will need on a daily basis to an easily accessible countertop at waist level. The less you need to raise your arms and rummage through cabinets, the easier your life will be. In addition, having everything in one place in the bathroom will make it simple to get through your daily routine in less time.
When we’re recovering from surgery, we start to notice the physical exertion needed for otherwise simple tasks, such as chopping vegetables or washing dishes. The best thing you can do is order take out or have pre-made meals stocked up in advance. This way you can warm up food in no time and throw away the trash when you’re done so you won’t have to stand for too long or move about while it’s uncomfortable for you.
Laundry is another major hassle that piles up after back surgery. You will not be able to lift heavy baskets or fold and hang laundry as you’re accustomed. The best practice is to get all of your laundry done in advance, and then have a friend or relative help you do additional laundry as necessary as you recover. You may also want to have some loose-fitting clothing already laid out for your first few days at home so you can easily change.
Guard your recovery now by preparing your home as needed. And remember, if you have any questions about what to expect, just give us a call!
There are, of course, numerous considerations to review before spine surgery. While many traditional methods of spine surgery require 3 months or more to reach full recovery, our minimally disruptive techniques can speed recovery time, increase mobility, and eliminate pain. Check out some testimonials from our patients, and then contact us today to learn more.
What is Degenerative Spine “Disease”? Degenerative spine “disease” is NOT really a disease, but rather a condition that results from changes that normally occur as the spine ages with time! The word “degeneration” implies a process of decline or deterioration that happens over time. Therefore, as our spine ages:
Are Degenerative Spine Conditions ALWAYS Symptomatic? No, degenerative spine conditions do not always cause symptoms. As a matter of fact, many people who have evidence of degenerative spine processes on imaging studies do not complain of any significant pain, discomfort or spine-related problems.
Does the Word “Degenerative” Imply that the Condition is Progressive and Will Get Worse with Time? The use of the term “degenerative” is meant to describe the ongoing process of degeneration to the spine that occurs over time with aging and wear-and-tear. It is not meant to describe progression of symptoms if they were present!
What Are the Symptoms that Could Result from Degenerative Spine Conditions?
When Should I Seek Treatment? It is important to note that since we can’t reverse or stop the process of aging, the treatment of degenerative spine conditions is not meant to reverse or stop the degenerative processes! Treatment is really provided to address the symptoms that can develop as a result of these degenerative processes. Thus, you should seek medical help and treatment options if:
What Treatment Options Are Available? Several conservative non-surgical options exist. These include:
Patients who have failed conservative therapy, have debilitating pain that is limiting their function and affecting their quality of life, or have neurological compromise would be considered for surgical interventions. Different surgical options exist, including minimally invasive ones. Patients considering surgery should have a detailed discussion with their spine surgeon to address the risks and benefits of the different options available.
Mobile devices and smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other and with the world around us. Making a dinner reservation, booking a flight to an exotic destination, checking the score of your favorite sports team, and even reading this post can all be carried out using a small lightweight mobile device! However, with the luxury and convenience we gain from our smartphones and mobile devices, also comes the risk of developing some health problems, including “text neck” syndrome.
“Text neck” syndrome, thus, is a condition that results from assuming an unnatural flexed posture of the neck, repeatedly for prolonged periods of time while using a mobile device. The condition can result in neck pain, arm pain and numbness, tightness and spasm of the muscles of the back of the neck and shoulders, and headaches. In addition, it could potentially affect the normal curvature of the spine.
Disorders and conditions of the spine are very common. Such conditions can result in pain, discomfort, weakness and changes in sensation that could interfere with someone’s quality of life and their ability to work. After seeking medical help, individuals suffering from such conditions might be advised and to have surgery. Patients and their referring physicians might be faced with the question of whether a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon should be consulted. In this article we will highlight the similarities and differences between the two types of surgeons. In addition, we will outline some of the important questions to consider when choosing a spine surgeon.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THEIR TRAINING?
After graduating from medical school, both types of surgeons complete an intense residency training program in their respective fields. For orthopedic surgeons, the surgical residency training is traditionally five years long, while for most neurosurgeons it is seven years long. Throughout their residency programs, both types of surgeons are trained in the diagnosis, management and treatment of conditions and disorders of the spine. Subsequently, many spine surgeons pursue additional specialized training in spine surgery by completing a spine surgery fellowship where they can master advanced spinal surgery techniques, such as minimally invasive and spinal deformity.
CAN BOTH TYPES OF SURGEONS PERFORM ALL TYPES OF SPINE SURGERIES?
Most conditions of the spine, especially degenerative ones, can be managed and treated by an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Traditionally, mainly orthopedic spine surgeons have performed spinal deformity surgeries. However, more neurosurgeons, through specialized fellowship training, are nowadays specialized in spinal deformity conditions. In addition, tumors and vascular lesions of the spinal cord are managed and treated by neurosurgeons, as well as, any other pathologies residing within the dura, the covering surrounding the spinal cord.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SPINE SURGEON?
Both types of surgeons, through their intensive medical and surgical training, are highly qualified to perform most types of spine surgery. Therefore, the question should not be about whether to see a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon, but rather about the specific spine surgeries a spine surgeon is specialized in performing. For example, some spine surgeons are more specialized in treating a specific region of the spine, such as, cervical or lumbar. Also, different spine surgeons might offer different approaches to address the same pathology. These approaches can vary from the traditional open approaches to the minimally invasive ones.
WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT YOUR SPINE SURGEON?
WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AFTER YOUR VISIT WITH A SPINE SURGEON?
Myth: BACK PAIN WON’T HAPPEN TO ME!
Fact: Back pain is extremely prevalent. Indeed, about 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain is:
The most common cause of disability for people younger than 45 years of age.
The second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office.
Is responsible for about 15% of all sick leave from work.
Myth: THE BEST CURE FOR BACK PAIN IS BED REST!
Fact: Prolonged bed rest for more than a day or two could worsen your back pain. The back muscles could become deconditioned and stiff with prolonged inactivity. In addition, lying in bed all the time could cause emotional distress and depression.
Myth: PHYSICALLY ACTIVE INDIVIDUALS DON’T SUFFER FROM BACK PAIN!
Fact: Back pain can affect all people regardless of their level of activity. It is true, however, that physically active and well-conditioned individuals are less likely to suffer an episode of back pain when compared to those with more sedentary lifestyles.
Myth: OLD AGE IS THE CAUSE OF MY BACK PAIN!
Fact: It is true that degeneration of the spine and its constituents is a natural part of the aging process. While aging could make us more susceptible to certain painful back conditions, it is not always accompanied by pain. As a matter of fact, the highest incidence of back pain is typically between the ages of 35 and 55. Regardless of your age, if you are suffering from back pain and your quality of life has been negatively impacted, you should seek a medical advice.
Myth: I WILL BECOME ADDICTED TO PAIN MEDICATIONS!
Fact: Not all types of pain medications cause addiction. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, are typically recommended for back pain as a first-line treatment option. In some instances of chronic back pain, a patient might require stronger types of pain medications, such as, opioids. With a very well-defined treatment plan and close monitoring, the risks of dependence and addiction from the use of such drugs could be reduced. This type of treatment plan is better-executed under the care of a well-trained pain management specialist.
Myth: MY BACK PAIN WILL ONLY GET BETTER AFTER SURGERY!
Fact: Most cases of back pain will improve and get better without treatment or with conservative management such as NSAIDs, physical therapy and exercise. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort and after all conservative treatments have been exhausted.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is defined as narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region that may cause compression of the nerves and/or compromise to their blood supply, or ischemia. As a result, individuals with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis might develop neurogenic claudication, or pseudoclaudication, causing gradually progressive pain and/or discomfort involving one or both buttocks, hips, thighs, legs or lower back. The symptoms of neurogenic claudication are typically precipitated by standing, walking and leaning backward, and are relived by sitting, laying down in a fetal position, bending or learning forward, as when leaning forward on a shopping cart.
While lumbar spinal stenosis can result from a congenitally narrow spinal canal, most cases occur as a result of degenerative, or wear-and-tear, processes involving the lumbar spine. These degenerative processes involve mechanical changes of the intervertebral disc causing a decrease in the disc height and formation of osteophytes, or bone spurs, that take up some space from the spinal canal leading to stenosis. In addition, these changes involving the disc result in an increased load and stress on the facet joints located on the back of the spine. This increase in stress load on the facet joints leads to facet joints hypertrophy and enlargement, which would also contribute to the narrowing of the spinal canal. Moreover, the ligamentum flavum, draping the backside of the spinal canal, can also thicken as a result of these degenerative processes adding additional narrowing to the spinal canal. By flexing or leaning forward, the ligamentum flavum stretches out resulting in less narrowing of the spinal canal and relief of symptoms.
The diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication is established based on the clinical presentation aided by appropriate imaging studies. Symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis is most common at the L4/5, followed by the L3/4 and L2/3. In some cases the stenosis is seen at multiple levels of the lumbar spine.
Treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis typically begins with conservative non-surgical options, such as, pain medications, physical therapy, and pain management with injections. When symptoms are refractory to conservative treatment options, surgical interventions can be considered. The goal of surgery is to decompress the nerves, by increasing the size of the spinal canal, to stop further progression of symptoms, provide pain relief, and possibly reverse neurologic deficits if they existed.
Several surgical options exist for treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. Decompressive laminectomy can be performed through an open or a minimally invasive approach and involve removal of some of the bone and soft tissue from the backside of the spinal canal. The procedure might be done with or without fusion. In some instances decompression can be performed with the use of a motion-preservation device that can provide stability to the spine while eliminating the need for fusion. If you have been told you need surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis, you should discuss with your spine surgeon the different surgical options available to you and decide on which option is best for you.