May, 2021

Below are links to articles posted in May, 2021

How to Improve Your Mobility after Back Surgery

After your back surgery, it is important to keep up with practices that will help your body heal faster and ensure the surgery was productive. What will be tough at first is mobility and feeling like you have the freedom to move with your back. Because your back is so vital to moving the rest of your body, you can feel even more stuck after an injury than you would any other body part. As an arm heals, for instance, you still have the other arm—but your back is one of a kind!

Fortunately, mobility will improve over time, and you may feel better within 3 weeks’ time. However, there are steps you can take to speed up the process.

Adjust Your Lifestyle for Recovery

After surgery, it is important to take the time to rest and adjust your routine in order to do so. It could be helpful to have someone around to help with household chores that are normally not strenuous, but might be after back surgery. You’ll need to skip workouts and any other physical activity while you heal.

You can also talk to your doctor about the best ways to sleep or sit during your recovery. As an example, your doctor will probably recommend sleeping on your back or on your side. This allows the muscles to relax and have support unlike when you are on your stomach.

Take Physical Therapy Seriously

One of the most important things to do post-surgery is attend your physical therapy appointments and remain active in your recovery. This means following any guidelines for at-home stretches and rest as suggested by your physical therapist. They are the experts and know exactly what your body needs to do to heal. Your doctor will be able to tell you how often you will need to go and recommend the best office to go to.

At your appointments, your physical therapist will do stretches and exercises that will greatly increase your recovery time. Going to physical therapy is usually the most activity you can do while recovering, so it is important to take it seriously.

Use Pain Medication as Prescribed

Before you head home from surgery, you will discuss pain medication with your doctor. It is important to listen to their instructions and not overuse any of your prescriptions. If you do so, you could develop a life-threatening addiction and slow down your healing process altogether.

Ideally, you will take the pain medication only when you need it or as prescribed by your doctor.

Don’t Hesitate to Call the Back Specialists at OLSS

Improving your mobility after surgery can be a grueling process that requires a lot of patience. At OLSS, even after your surgery, we are still here for you and eager to help you feel your best. If you have questions after your procedure, you can still reach out.

Give us a call at (855) 853-6542 or complete our contact form to find out more information about how our highly trained specialists will answer any questions you have about recovering from your surgery and improving your mobility.

3 Questions to Ask Your Doctor When Considering Joint Replacement Surgery

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we believe in putting our patients first and accessing their treatment based on what will work best for their lifestyle and overall health. When it comes to joint replacement surgery, it is a serious decision and you will work with your doctor to decide if it is right for you. Your doctor becomes your teammate, and the only way to win is to communicate. With that, we want you to feel empowered to have questions and make sure you are in charge of your health regimen.

When considering joint replacement surgery, it is important to be completely educated on what the treatment entails. Your doctor will help you understand the mechanics of it, but it is up to you to understand how it will affect you.

Patients who need joint replacement surgery suffer from chronic pain brought on by arthritis. Arthritis wears down bone and cartilage, which is what makes moving specific joints painful and difficult. It creates friction and while it can be tolerable over a certain period of time, the wear and tear will catch up to you. That is when joint replacement surgery may be suggested to you by your doctor. Before you go in for this surgery, be sure to ask these few questions to help ensure you have made the right choice.

1.   How Will Joint Replacement Surgery Improve My Mobility?

This is an important question to ask because the end goal is for you to be pain-free and able to move freely. You want to make sure your doctor explains exactly how you will end up pain-free and what your mobility will be like after the surgery. As an example, if your goal is to walk without a cane and your doctor says you might still need one, you may need to have a deeper conversation about what options there are.

2.   How Long Is Recovery Time for Joint Replacement?

It’s important to know that recovery is a part of the surgical process. You have to heal correctly in order to reap the benefits of your procedure. With that being said, you may not feel relief right away and it is important to talk with your doctor about when relief will come. It will also be important to understand what resources you will need to recover properly so you can prepare yourself.

3.   What Are the Risks of Joint Replacement Surgery?

For any surgery, it is important to understand what risks you are taking in order to be pain-free. Be sure that your doctor explains the risks that come with the surgery itself, as well as the risks for forgoing surgery. Weighing those pros and cons will be key in your decision-making.

Talk with a Doctor at OLSS about Joint Replacement Surgery

The most important part of our work at OLSS is making sure our patients are comfortable in our care. We encourage you to ask questions and be an advocate for your own healthcare. Our board-certified and accredited doctors are here to help you and will answer any questions you have. For more information on joint replacement surgery at OLSS, give us a call at (855) 853-6542 or reach out online to find out more

Why Does My Back Hurt from Running?

Running is one of the most beneficial exercises for your body as it covers cardio, strength, and core all in one workout! However, running can cause a lot of pain over time, especially in your back. At Orthopedic Laser & Spine Surgery, we want to make sure you are able to do the things you love and avoid back pain. Below you will find the answer to the question of why your back hurts from running. We will also offer best practices to prevent pain during and after your workout.

Why Does My Back Hurt from Running?

The back is a complex muscle group supported by your vertebrae and discs. While you’re running, these muscles are working hard to keep you going. Most commonly, it is your lower back that gets the sorest from running. There are a few things that could be in pain:

  • Sacroiliac joint: When it comes to lower back pain from running, this will most likely be the source of what you are feeling. This joint is in the lower part of the back and makes those dimples right above your buttocks. It is located directly above your legs and therefore has a direct connection in the motion of your feet hitting the pavement or treadmill.
  • Facet joint: These are the joints that connect the bones of the spine. The nerves of these joints connect to the arms, legs, and spinal cord. This kind of joint can cause irritation during a run due to the connection it has to the rest of the body.
  • Weak back: A lifetime of sports or other previous injuries can be a guarantee of lower back pain as you run. It is a commonly overworked muscle group.

Now that you know the basics of what could be hurting in your lower back as you run, let’s talk about ways to prevent pain during your workout.

Best Practices to Help Your Back When Running

As we all know, it is important to take care of yourself, especially when doing vigorous activities. You need to listen to your body and practice the proper precaution to avoid injury that could limit your runs down the line. Below are a few recommendations for keeping your back pain-free while you run.

  • Good running shoes: A good pair of shoes is absolutely essential for running. We recommend getting properly fitted at your favorite local athletic shoe store and trying on a few pairs before deciding. It is also important to get new shoes about every 450 to 550 miles. When the shoe is too worn down, it will not be helpful for your back.
  • Proper support: A proper-fitting sports bra or compression tank will be key to your running attire. It will provide the support necessary to keep you in a proper running posture. We recommended being fitted at a local store for sports bras as well, and most athletic shoe stores have them!
  • Take breaks and rest days: Running can be addictive due to the endorphins it releases. However, it is imperative for your back health that you take breaks while running and take rest days during your workout week. Listen to your body! It is recommended to only run around three days a week.

Ways to Prevent Back Pain Post-Run

When you come in from a run, take a few extra steps to avoid injury and therefore avoid lower back pain.

  • Stretch: Give your muscles a well-deserved stretch after you run to ensure you are not sore and avoid injury before your next run. Be sure to take extra time to stretch your lower back.
  • Heating pad: Investing in a quality heating pad is a great idea if you experience a lot of lower back pain after running. You can use it if the pain persists a few hours after you run. The heat works to relax the muscles and therefore alleviate pain.
  • Strength training: On your rest days from running, it is a good idea to do some weight lifting/muscle toning. By strengthening the muscles that support you while running, you will only improve your performance and avoid a sore back.

When in Doubt, Talk to the Experts at OLSS

Whether you are nervous to keep running because of your lower back pain or just have further questions about prevention, we are here to help. Give us a call at (855) 853-6542 or reach out online to find out more information about how our skilled and highly trained specialists can help you avoid injury and have a strong and healthy running career!

When Is an Epidural Steroid Injection Right for Me?

At Orthopedic Laser & Spine Surgery, we pride ourselves on our patient-first approach. This means that we always choose the treatment that is best for the patient in front of us. We base our diagnosis on medical history, lifestyle, healing time, and other important factors. We do it all with you in mind. Choosing an epidural steroid injection as treatment would be no different. One of our board-certified doctors would only perform this procedure if it is the right choice for you.

What Is an Epidural Steroid Injection?

An epidural steroid injection uses a needle to place pain-relieving medication directly into the spine. This space is between the bones, discs, nerves, and tissues of the spine. It is small, but acts as the perfect area for medication to seep into painful issues in the back.

The steroid used is an anti-inflammatory, so it reduces irritation where it needs to. Because of this, epidural steroid injections are most commonly used to relieve the pain of a slipped disc or a pinched nerve.

Is an Epidural Steroid Injection Permanent?

An epidural steroid injection is not permanent and will need to be maintained with routine visits and injections from your doctor. This kind of treatment is good for those who suffer from regular pain and will need to see their back doctor for injections three to six times a year. After each injection, the relief should last anywhere from three to six months.

In short, this kind of treatment is semi-permanent and your doctor will be able to determine if this regime is best for you and your body.

Am I Eligible for an Epidural Steroid Injection?

Epidural steroid injections are not limited to any specific age group or lifestyle. There are certain risks, like needle bleeding or infection, but they are not due to any specific circumstances. You’ll know it is time to consider epidural steroid injections when your pain is chronic and only goes away for a short period of time.

Also, if you have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, an epidural steroid injection might be right for you:

  • Lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis,
  • Postherpetic neuralgia
  • Facet/synovial cysts

At the end of the day, your doctor will be the one to assess if an epidural steroid injection plan is the right course of treatment for you. They will make sure you understand why you need that treatment, how often you will get it, and what it will do for you.

Talk to Your Doctor about Epidural Steroid Injections

When it is time to make epidural steroid injections a part of your healthcare routine, you can talk it over with your trusted doctor at Orthopedic Laser & Spine Surgery. They will work hard to ensure you will be comfortable and educated about the procedure and what it will do to improve your health and quality of life. Give us a call at (855) 853-6542 or reach out online to find out more about epidural steroid injections.

How to Determine If Back Pain is Muscle or Disc Related

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we want to make sure your back is in the best shape possible so you can live a pain-free and active life. There can be a few different reasons why your back hurts, and we are prepared to treat all kinds of issues. When you see one of our board-certified specialists, they will help you determine what is causing your pain and what the best route to healing is.

Back pain is commonly caused by a muscle or disc-related injury. When the pain persists, it may be time to see a doctor, but how can you determine if back pain is muscle or disc related?

What is Muscle Pain?

Our primary back muscles consist of the latissimus dorsi (lats), rhomboids, trapezius, and erector spinae. All three of these muscles serve the purpose of stability throughout the shoulders, lower back, and core. Because they are all connected, it can feel like the pain is reaching throughout your entire body.

Muscle soreness occurs as you stress your muscles during workouts. During those exercises,  the fibers in your muscles begin to break down, causing soreness and muscle pain. This means that the fibers are working to repair themselves and become stronger and healthier.

On the contrary, muscle pain does not always mean that your muscles are breaking down fibers and getting stronger. It can also mean that you have overstrained your muscle and therefore have torn your fibers. When they tear abruptly, they can cause major joint pain and injuries. This type of strain is extremely common in the shoulders and lower back.

Soreness from exercise normally only lasts 2-3 days after your workout. If the pain persists past that point, it may be time to see a doctor and get treatment for a possible strain or serious injury. At OLSS, we will be here to help you treat your soreness and get you back to your life!

What is Disc Pain?

The spinal disc is an elastic-like muscle located underneath the spine. It is flat, round, and provides stability along with a wide range of motion. Disc pain is caused when the spinal disc slips out of place and causes major pain and discomfort. This can happen from heavy lifting or simply from aging.

When a disc is slipped, it could potentially cause nerve damage, which will create numbness, tingling pain, and immobility. Like most of the body, the back does have the ability to heal itself. You can try home remedies like ice and a heating pad to see if that helps ease the pain. However, when it comes to a potential slipped disc, it is essential to see a back doctor as soon as possible to avoid serious nerve damage and permanent pain. When you see one of our accredited doctors at OLSS, you can feel confident you are in the best care and that they will access the issue accurately.

The Difference Between Muscle and Disc Pain

The main difference between these two types of back pain is the location. Your spinal disc is at the bottom of your back, so if you have pain in your lower back, you may assume it is a slipped disc. Furthermore, the feeling of pain will differ between the two. Muscle pain will feel like post-workout soreness, while disc pain will feel debilitating and tingly.

It is helpful to know the difference before you see your doctor so you can accurately describe the pain to them. Fortunately, you can trust that your doctors are the experts who will be able to help you no matter the case.

The Best Doctors for Your Back Pain Are at OLSS

Whether it is muscle pain or disc-related pain, the doctors at OLSS are eager to treat you and help you get back to feeling your best. We take a patient-first approach to our care and always do what is best for you and your body. Give us a call at (866) 646-5090 or reach out online to find out more!