February, 2022

Below are links to articles posted in February, 2022

3 Surgical Treatment Options for Facet Joint Syndrome

On the back of each spinal segment, a pair of small facet joints connect the spine’s vertebral bones. The facet joints of the lower back (lumbar spine) bear a massive amount of stress and weight, making them vulnerable to degeneration and injury. These joints are innervated with spinal nerves, making them susceptible to developing pain often felt in the lower back or legs.

Pain origination from a facet in the lumbar spine may begin as acute short-term pain but become chronic over time. The pain may be localized to the lower back or may progress down into one or both legs if a spinal nerve impinges near the facet, resulting in a condition known as sciatica. There are numerous terms and diagnoses related to facet joint disorders, including spinal osteoarthritis, facet joint arthritis, facet joint disease, and facet syndrome. These disorders may also be classified under the general term for spinal degeneration spondylosis.

3 Facet Joint Syndrome Surgical Treatment Options

Facet Joint Syndrome is a condition in which arthritic change and inflammation occur to the nerves and facet joints. This condition can be caused by degenerative changes to the joints between the spine bones. The cartilage inside the facet joints may break down and become inflamed, triggering pain signals in nearby nerve endings.

Surgeries are performed on the facet joints to reduce pain by improving the stability of the motion segments of the back. Facet joint surgeries do not typically need open surgical techniques. Many procedures may be performed using minimally invasive approaches. These procedures use relatively small incisions that tend to cause minimal tissue damage and have a faster recovery rate. Surgical procedures typically include:

1. Lumbar Decompression

Laminectomy surgery includes removing the posterior part of the vertebra to provide more space for the compressed spinal cord or nerve roots. Laminectomy helps decrease pressure on the nerves, reducing leg pain and potentially improving weakness and functionality of the lower back and legs.

2. Reduction

Reduction surgery involves fixing fractured facet joints. This procedure is typically performed in a facet dislocation or fracture caused by high-energy trauma.

3. Facetectomy

A facetectomy involves trimming parts of a facet joint to remove excess bone that may be impinging on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord.

As with any medical procedure, there is the risk of serious complications, such as infection, excessive bleeding, nerve injury, and severe allergic reaction. Before deciding to have surgery for facet joint syndrome, it’s essential to discuss the risk and all possible treatment options for your condition and unique needs.

Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery Can Help You Find Back Pain Relief

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our spinal surgeons are leaders in their field dedicated to helping patients find back pain relief. Our surgeons are pioneers of minimally invasive spinal surgery and have spent decades helping patients find pain relief and regain their quality of life. We tailor our treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient. Schedule an appointment online through our contact form or contact us at (855) 853-6542.

5 Reasons to Take Your Child’s Back Pain Seriously

While back pain is common in adults, teens and young kids are significantly more resilient and flexible, meaning they do not suffer from the same type of back injuries as adults. Medically significant back pain in children and teens is infrequently encountered, with even fewer cases in younger children. However, because children rarely suffer from back pain, complaints by a child or teenager about acute or chronic pain are taken very seriously by pediatricians. The most common reasons for back pain in children tend to be age-dependent. The younger a child is, the more significant concern for the possibility of a serious condition if they are experiencing back pain. Therefore, if your child is experiencing persistent back pain despite a lack of injury, it would be best to consult a spinal expert.

5 Reasons to Take Children’s Back Pain Seriously

Unlike back pain in adults, back pain in children may indicate a serious underlying disorder or condition. While most adults experience back pain at least once in their life, that is not the case with children. Adults who experience back pain are also more likely to find back pain relief at home with over-the-counter medications and lifestyle modifications. Children who experience back pain, especially if they have not sustained an injury, should be taken to their primary care physician as soon as possible. Below are five reasons to take your child’s back pain seriously.

1. Your Child May Be Suffering from Muscular Back Pain

Muscular back pain is the most common reason for back pain in children. This pain may arise from:

  • Muscle strain
  • Ligament strains
  • Posture problems
  • Injuries stemming from overuse

Fortunately, this type of back pain can often be treated with rest. However, if rest and at-home treatments don’t help, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s doctor about alternative treatments.

2. Your Child May Have Spinal Disc Problems

A disc herniation of the spine means that the soft cushion between the vertebrae is ruptured. The rupture forces the disc material out of its normal position and may push against the nerves and spinal cords. While herniated discs are much less common in children, when they occur, they can cause severe pain and symptoms.

3. Your Child May Be Suffering from Spinal Alignment Abnormalities

Spinal alignment problems may cause noticeable deformity along with back pain. However, while more subtle deformities may be noticeable, they don’t always cause pain.  The two most common spinal deformities in children are:

  • Scoliosis: a deformity that causes an S-shaped curve to the spine
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis: a condition that causes a sharp bend in the spine

These two conditions differ, but treatments can be similar. Additionally, the more severe the deformity, the higher chance the child may need to wear a brace.

4. Your Child May Have an Infection

An infection of the spine can have significant consequences and requires prompt diagnosis. Fever, malaise, and soreness are typically indicators of a spinal infection. Most spinal infections are treatable with antibiotics. However, in rare cases, surgical treatment may be needed.

5. Your Child May Have a Tumor

Several types of benign and malignant bone tumors can occur in the spinal column. Sometimes they can cause significant pain. Other times, they don’t cause any symptoms. Spinal tumors are highly uncommon in children but must still be considered during diagnosis. Warning signs to keep an eye out for include:

  • Pain that occurs specifically at night
  • Generalized illness
  • Weight loss

Treatment for spinal tumors depends on the type of tumor. Cancerous spinal tumors often require a combination of treatments such as medication, radiation, and surgery. Even benign tumors may require surgery because an untreated tumor may lead to spine deformities.

Spinal Surgeons at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery Can Help Relieve Back Pain

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we understand that each patient and their condition are unique, so we tailor our treatment plan process to ensure each patient gets the best treatment possible. Our medical team takes the time to understand your condition before recommending a treatment plan built around you and the needs of your condition. Schedule an appointment through our contact form or by calling (855) 853-6542.

How Does Spinal Fusion Affect Neck Mobility?

Spinal fusion is one of the most recommended surgical procedures when neck pain symptoms are chronic and severe. This surgery involves reducing pressure on the affected spinal nerve or nerves and stabilizing at least part of the cervical spine by fusing vertebral bones together at one or more cervical levels. The procedure is almost always done in combination with a discectomy, which is why it is often referred to as an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

Spinal fusion has a good record of eliminating or reducing neck-related arm pain, tingling, and weakness. However, patients may worry about how much neck mobility they may lose when one or more mobile joints in the neck are fused solid and whether it will impact their quality of life.

Understanding Standard Neck Mobility

The cervical spine consists of seven stacked vertebral bones that travel down, connecting the base of the skull to the chest. Neck mobility refers to the cervical spine’s range of motion and varies somewhat from person to person. Neck mobility depends on several factors such as:

  • The shape and structure of vertebral bones and facet joints
  • The cushioning provided by discs between the vertebrae
  • The flexibility of surrounding muscle and ligaments

The cervical range of motion is generally measured in three planes:

  • Sagittal: forward/backward
  • Coronal: side to side
  • Transverse: rotation

Medical professionals have not agreed on the average range of the cervical motion, but the following measurements are estimates for reference.

  • Moving head forward: 60 degrees of flexion
  • Moving head backward: 75 degrees of extension
  • Bending ear towards the shoulder: 45 degrees of lateral flexion
  • Turning to the side: 80 degrees of rotation

The measurements above are an estimated point of reference for medical professionals to use when diagnosing spine and neck conditions.

How Spinal Fusion Surgery Affects Neck Mobility

Depending on how the measurements are done, between one-third to one-half of the neck’s forward/backward and rotational motions occur at the top two levels of the cervical spine. Most fusion surgeries in the cervical spine occur in one or more of the lower levels. Therefore, one or two-level fusion in the lower cervical spine has a minor impact on the neck’s overall range of motion because the mobile joints in the neck are not the ones that were fused.

Furthermore, most routine activities throughout the day only involve a fraction of the neck’s full range of motion. Even in rare circumstances where three or four levels of the lower cervical spine are fused, less than 25% of the neck’s mobility is lost, and it does not affect the person’s ability to perform most daily tasks. Adjustments might need to be made, but it does not impede a person’s ability to perform the activity.

Find Neck and Spinal Pain Relief at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

Back and neck pain can make daily tasks unbearable, impeding people from performing their daily and work duties. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we understand the debilitating pain that comes from spinal and neck conditions. Our spine surgeons have dedicated their careers to relieving patients’ back and neck pain. They are leaders in their field committed to providing patients with personalized treatment to ensure they can regain their quality of life. Call (855) 853-6542 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment with our spinal experts today.

What Is the Difference between Endoscopic vs. Microscopic Spine Surgery?

Spinal discs are elastic rings with soft material inside that serve as cushions between the vertebrae bones. When those discs become weakened, the soft tissue inside can become herniated. A herniated disc material can compress the nerves causing pain. In cases where a patient is suffering from herniated disc pain, a lumbar discectomy may be recommended as a treatment. The two standard options for outpatient lumbar discectomy are endoscopic and microscopic discectomy. Both procedures can help relieve pain from bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and sciatica.

How are Endoscopic and Microscopic Different?

While both procedures are considered minimally invasive, they are technically very different.

Microscopic Discectomy

A microscopic discectomy is technically an open surgery, which uses minimally invasive techniques. A microdiscectomy is performed through the back, with the patient lying down on their stomach. They will likely be under general anesthesia. A 1 to 1 ½ inch incision is made in the midline of the lower back. The back muscles are lifted off the bony arch of the spine and moved aside with a retractor. The surgeon can then enter the spine by removing a membrane over the nerve roots.

A small portion of the inside facet joint may be removed in some cases. Removing that small portion facilitates access to the nerve root and relieves any pressure or pinching on the nerve. Using small instruments, the surgeon goes under the nerve root and removes the fragments of the damaged disc material. Once the herniated disc is removed, the muscles are moved back into place, and the surgical incision is closed.

Endoscopic Discectomy

An endoscopic discectomy is technically quite different from a conventional microdiscectomy. For starters, a significantly smaller incision is made during endoscopic spine surgery. The incision is approximately 10 mm. The incision is made off to the side of the midline instead of directly over the affected disc.

The fragment is removed through an opening called neuroforamen rather than removing the bone to access the herniated disc. The nerves exit the spine through the neuroforamen, making it ideal for a small camera (endoscope) to access the damaged disc. Once the surgeon has eyes on the disc fragment, they can remove it to relieve the pressure of the affected area. Furthermore, this procedure can be performed without general anesthesia because of the small incision.

Hospital Stays for Endoscopic and Microscopic Discectomy

Both procedures are commonly done on an outpatient basis. Patients typically stay in the surgery center or hospital for a few hours before being released. An overnight hospital stay is not often required. Following the procedure, patients may quickly return to a relatively normal level of activities.

Find Spinal Pain Relief at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

Nearly every adult in the U.S. has experienced back pain at least once in their life. When back pain becomes chronic, it can debilitate someone, causing them to call out of work or preventing them from being there for their families. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, you will find an efficient facility and caring spine experts dedicated to helping our patients find pain relief.  Our surgeons are leaders in their fields who will provide you with personalized care and help you regain your quality of life with the least invasive treatments possible. You can schedule an appointment using our contact form or by calling (855) 853-6542.

11 Ways to Deal With Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy

Sciatic nerve pain is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatica nerve branches off the spinal cord into the lower back, runs through the buttocks, and finally down the legs. This large nerve helps the lower back, legs, and feet feel pressure, temperature, and pain. Sciatica pain may arise during pregnancy because the mother’s expanding uterus places pressure on the sciatic nerve. That pressure can cause inflammation, irritation, and pain. Sciatica is most likely to occur later in pregnancy as the baby grows, increasing the weight pressuring the nerve.

Symptoms of Sciatica During Pregnancy

In addition to the expansion of the uterus, other reasons mothers may experience sciatica pain during pregnancy include:

  • Weight gain and increased fluid retention
  • Growing belly and breasts shift the mother’s center of gravity forward
  • The baby’s head is resting directly on the nerve
  • A herniated or slipped disc caused by the extra pressure

The primary symptom of sciatica is pain that begins at the lower back and radiates down to the legs. Other indications of sciatic nerve pain include:

  • Poor bladder control
  • Numbness, tingling in the legs
  • Burning sensation in lower extremities
  • Pain exacerbated by coughing, moving, or sneezing
  • Weakness in the feet

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor. They can provide safe ways to relieve your pain.

11 Ways to Find Sciatica Pain Relief While Pregnant

Once you’ve contacted your doctor, they will likely recommend some conservative at-home treatments to help deal with the pain. Some at-home, noninvasive treatments a doctor may recommend are:

  1. Physical therapy
  2. Warm heating pad
  3. Over-the-counter medications
  4. Messages
  5. Going on walks
  6. Swimming
  7. Yoga
  8. Warm baths
  9. Being mindful of how you sit and your posture
  10. Sleep on the pain-free side of your body
  11. Stretching

Some stretches you can try out are:

  • Child pose stretch
  • Cat-cow stretches
  • Seated figure four stretch
  • Standing hamstring stretch
  • Kneeling lunge
  • Pigeon poses
  • Bound angle pose
  • Modified warrior pose

Before engaging in any stretching or exercise activity, you should speak with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend the best noninvasive at-home treatments that will work best for your pain. They can help you stretch correctly and safely, so you don’t exacerbate your pain more.

Find Sciatica Pain Relief at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

It can be both painful and scary for women experiencing sciatica pain during pregnancy. Fortunately, most sciatic pain during pregnancy can be treated with at-home remedies and often disappears after childbirth. However, if the pain continues even after trying conservative methods at home, it may be time to consult with a spinal expert. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we understand that every condition and patient is unique and requires personalized care. Our spine surgeons are leaders in their fields dedicated to helping their patients find pain relief. We will tailor your treatment plan to your needs and provide you with award-winning medical service. You can schedule an appointment by filling out our contact form or calling (855) 853-6542.