March, 2022

Below are links to articles posted in March, 2022

8 Ways to Help Alleviate Those Annoying Back Spasms

Back spasms are relatively common and are the involuntary contractions of the back muscles that are having a difficult time getting to a relaxed position. Spasms can occur in any muscle of the body and can cause sharp and intense pain in that specific region of the body. These spasms can last a few minutes, and some episodes can last weeks. When this occurs, the muscle may become rigid or stiff to the touch or may even appear twisted under the skin.

When a back spasm occurs, there are a few home remedies that may help alleviate the discomfort or pain. If the pain persists or becomes more severe, consult an expert back and spine specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery for an evaluation of your unique condition.

At-Home Remedies That May Alleviate Back Spasms

When you are first experiencing pain and discomfort due to a back spasm, there are a few ways that you can choose to alleviate the sensation. These at-home remedies are worth trying when mitigating a back spasm episode:

1. Take a Hot Bath to Relax the Back Muscles

Taking a bath is beneficial during a back spasm episode because it increases blood flow to the affected area and relaxes the muscles in your back. Increasing blood flow to the area is important because blood carries vital nutrients and growth factors that your muscle might need. This may also speed up the recovery time from a muscle spasm. Alternatively, you can also use a hot pack on the affected area.

2. Apply Over-The-Counter Topical Cream to the Affected Area

A quick-relief solution to a muscle spasm is to apply over-the-counter topical creams to the affected area. These creams are used to combat muscle pain and may contain the following ingredients:

  • Counterirritants such as menthol, wintergreen, and eucalyptus
  • Salicylates, aspirin-like compounds
  • Lidocaine, topical anesthetic

It is important to only use these topical creams in a thin layer, up to four times daily. The active ingredients in these creams can absorb into the bloodstream and cause side effects if overused.

3. Drink or Eat Electrolytes

Electrolytes are important when dealing with a back spasm because they include minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium that can control muscle contractions in the body, including important muscles like your heart. Spasms may occur when these minerals are depleted due to things like stress or diet deficiency.

4. Massage the Back Muscle Experiencing the Spasm

Massaging the affected area can help loosen the muscle that is experiencing the spasm. Massages stretch the muscle and allow it to fully relax. Applying heat first can help the muscle relax before a massage. Getting massages as a preventive measure may also help reduce the frequency of muscle spasms.

Way to Prevent Future Back Spasms

There are many ways you can prevent or reduce back spasms from occurring in the future. Preventive measures are usually done routinely. These are specific ways you may prevent muscle spasms from becoming a regular occurrence:

5. Work Towards a Strong, Flexible Body

One of the best ways to prevent or reduce back spasms is to have a strong, flexible body. Specifically, a strong abdominal core can help support your back and can help in reducing the number of muscle spasms you experience. Some of the best exercises for improving core strength are:

Moving your body daily and keeping your muscles limber by stretching is a great way to prevent back spasms. If you are unsure which exercises are right for you, consult an experienced back and spine specialist at OLSS for guidance regarding your unique back condition.

6. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential to preventing back spasms. If you stay dehydrated, it increases your chances of your muscles tensing up, seizing up, or spasming.

7. Consider Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be beneficial in strengthening muscles to reduce the frequency of back spasms. It can bolster your spine alignment and keep your muscles properly engaged. Additionally, you may receive instructions on how to properly take care of your muscles at home after your physical therapy has ended.

8. Eat a Diet Full of Electrolytes

Eating a diet full of whole foods such as potatoes, avocados, spinach, meat, and eggs can help you get more electrolytes. Additionally, you may also be able to add salt to drinking water to add extra electrolytes to your diet.

Speak with a Back and Spine Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery Today

If your back spasms increase in frequency or your pain is intense and interfering with daily activities, it may be best to speak to a skilled back and spine specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery for an evaluation of your unique back condition.

At OLSS, we understand that each patient is different and has a specific set of needs that should be treated with a customized treatment plan that is right for them. Our award-winning and compassionate medical professionals ensure that you walk out of our clinics thoroughly informed and understand every detail regarding the best treatment option for you and your full recovery. To speak with a back specialist about your back spasms, call (866)-646-5090 or fill out our contact form.

Understanding the Effects That Cancer Has on Your Back Bones

Spinal metastases, or cancer of the spine, occur when cancer cells from another region of the body spread to the spinal column. The spinal cord, a packet of nerves that travel from the brain and down the back, controls movement and sensation in the body. The spine and spinal cord are surrounded by membranes, called meninges, and protective bones called vertebrae. When cancer from another area of the body spreads to the back, it can cause deep, aching back pain that increases in intensity at night. 

If the metastases invade beyond the bone of the vertebrae and into the spinal cord, or if the tumor-filled vertebrae collapse or fracture, cord compression can occur, causing weakness or paralysis in parts of the body such as the legs and arms, decreased or unusual sensations, or problems with bowel or bladder function. Speak with a spine specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery for a comprehensive evaluation of your back pain and a customized treatment plan that is right for you. 

What Are the Different Classifications of Spinal Metastases? 

Medical professionals and spinal specialists classify spinal metastases, or spine cancer, based on the section of the spine the cancer is affecting, where it developed, and where it formed. The regions of the spine are separated as follows: 

  • Cervical spine: Neck 
  • Thoracic spine: Chest
  • Lumbar spine: Low back
  • Sacrum: Bottom of the spine 

The different types of spinal tumors include: 

  • Extradural: The tumor is seen on the vertebrae or bones of the spine, outside of the dura (a thin membrane covering the spinal cord). 
  • Extradural-extramedullary: The tumor is seen within the dura but not on the spinal cord. 
  • Intramedullary: A tumor that develops inside the spinal cord. 

Diagnosis of spinal metastases starts with a comprehensive examination to look for any signs of spinal cord compression. Imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs are often used to visualize metastases. Biopsies are then performed to confirm tumor type. Consult a medical professional at OLSS for a complete examination of your unique spinal condition. 

What Symptoms Are Associated with Spinal Cancer?

There are some instances of patients who develop spine cancer and have little to no symptoms. As the tumor gets bigger and presses on the nerves surrounding the spinal cord, presses on the spinal cord, or if the tumor breaks down the bone in your spinal column, there may be a development of symptoms. Symptoms are dependent on the location and severity; they may include: 

  • Back and neck pain, worsening at night 
  • Decrease in sensation, such as cold, heat, and pain 
  • Deformity in the spine 
  • Bladder or bowel control issues 
  • Difficulty walking or balancing 
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness experienced in the limbs or chest
  • Paralysis 

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is essential that you speak to an experienced spine and back specialist at OLSS for an evaluation of your symptoms and a thorough physical and imaging examination of your back. The medical professionals at OLSS create a customized treatment plan for your specific needs. 

Speak with a Skilled Back and Spine Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery 

Spine and backbone cancer is treatable with surgical intervention, radiation, and chemotherapy, in addition to pain medications. Speak with a spine specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery to meet with a spinal specialist who is eager to give you full support and lead the way to your recovery. 

At OLSS, we tailor treatments to fit the individual needs of our patients. Our customized treatment plans utilize conservative options first and are then built around your unique back and spine condition. We use state-of-the-art, minimally invasive techniques to ensure a faster, more efficient recovery. Call (855) 853-6542 to speak with a spinal specialist or fill out our contact form.

How Is a Spinal Fracture Diagnosed?

Spinal fractures can be more severe than a broken arm or broken leg. A spinal fracture can cause the bone fragments of the vertebra to pinch or damage spinal nerves or the spinal cord. This specific injury may occur because of trauma to the spine from falls, car accidents, gunshots, or sports. Injuries can range from being relatively mild ligaments and strains to severe dislocations and fractures of the bony vertebra in the spine and debilitating damage to the spinal cord.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may experience pain, decreased motor skills, difficulty walking, or paralysis. Fractures may heal from conservative treatments; however, severe fractures may require surgery to realign the affected areas. It is best to consult a spinal expert at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery (OLSS) for the best treatment plans surrounding a spinal fracture.

What Are Spinal Fractures?

Spinal fractures, tiny cracks in the bones of your vertebrae, may start out with slight back pain and increase in intensity over time or come on suddenly and severely. For most, spinal fractures will decrease in pain intensity as the bone heals.

Fractures may occur anywhere along the spine and are categorized one of three ways:

  • Spinal Fractures: The most common type of spinal fracture is a vertebral body compression fracture. Sudden trauma to the body of the vertebrae results in the shatter and collapse of the bone, and if the force is strong enough, it may even send bone fragments into the spinal canal, called a burst fracture.
  • Spinal Dislocations: In a spinal dislocation, the ligaments and/or discs that connect two vertebrae together are torn or stretched to the point where they may come out of alignment. A dislocated vertebra is a severe injury that can cause instability and spinal cord compression.
  • Fracture-Dislocations: This type of injury occurs when a bone is broken and ligaments are torn. These spinal fractures are debilitating and usually require surgical repair.

If you suspect that you have potentially suffered a spinal fracture, speak to a spine specialist at OLSS for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our medical professionals prioritize minimally invasive treatment options and have spent decades helping patients regain their quality of life back before their spinal pain.

What Are the Most Notable Symptoms of a Spinal Fracture?

Symptoms of a spinal fracture are dependent upon the severity of the injury and the affected area. The type of symptoms you may experience include:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness
  • Bladder/Bowel movement issues

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms associated with a spinal fracture, speak with an expert spinal specialist at OLSS for a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and thorough treatment options for your condition and unique needs.

How Is a Spinal Fracture Diagnosed?

In most circumstances, a spinal injury will require a spine doctor or other specialists to evaluate the extent of your spinal injury. Initially, a spinal specialist will perform a physical exam of the spine and assess your breathing. The spine is kept in a back or neck brace until the appropriate diagnostic tests are performed. The tests may include:

  • X-rays: An imaging test that uses x-rays to view the bony vertebrae structures in the spine. Special flexion and extension x-rays may be performed to detect abnormalities in movement.
  • Computed Tomography (CT): An imaging test that uses an x-ray beam and a computer to make two-dimensional imaging of your spine. Sometimes it is performed using a special dye (contrast agent) that is injected into the bloodstream to show further details.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An imaging test that uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves to show a detailed view of the spine and its soft tissue. Unlike in an x-ray, nerves and discs are highly visible. An MRI is especially useful in evaluating soft tissue damage to the ligaments and discs of the spine.

The spinal specialists at OLSS offer a comprehensive program that uses the latest in research, technology, and state-of-the-art treatments to assist in quicker recovery times and a 95% or higher success rate.

Speak with a Spinal Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our spinal specialists are leaders in their field and are dedicated to providing patients state-of-the-art care for their spinal fracture injuries. Our medical staff are pioneers in minimally invasive surgical techniques and create tailored treatment plans for the unique spinal needs of each patient.

Schedule an appointment today with our caring experts that are ready to provide the best orthopedic care for your condition. Call (855) 853-6542 or fill out our contact form for a tailored treatment plan customized to fit your needs for a full recovery.

How Long Does It Take To Fully Recover from Microdiscectomy Surgery?

Facing the potential of a microdiscectomy surgery, some patients may feel a bit of anxiety, even with a minor, minimally-invasive procedure. Not only is it important to know what to expect from a microdiscectomy surgery, but it is also important to know the recovery process and how long it may take.

Surgical procedures can disrupt the daily routines you’ve grown accustomed to, like missing work or other obligations. A reliable recovery process can help you move on faster and jump back into where you left off. If you have a microdiscectomy surgery scheduled at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery (OLSS), rest assured that your spine specialists will guide you through the recovery process and ensure you are experiencing pain relief after your procedure.

How Long Does It Take To Fully Recover from Microdiscectomy Surgery?

A microdiscectomy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure done to remove any spinal disc material that is pressing on surrounding nerves or the spinal cord. A microdiscectomy can be performed as an outpatient procedure, with most patients being discharged the same day.

The recovery rate is dependent on the patient; most signs of healing are apparent within two to four weeks. After 12 weeks, the patient should be fully healed and return to everyday activities. This is what you can expect through your healing journey:

What to Expect on Day Two through Day Fourteen

When you are discharged home, you can expect many of the common side effects from surgery. You may experience fatigue, pain, and sleepiness. You may start to feel more discomfort as the initial post-surgical analgesics wear off.

You will be sent home with specific instructions for your spine surgeon regarding your activity level and how you can manage your discomfort and pain. Following these instructions are important for your overall recovery process. You may have to avoid any of the following activities:

  • Lifting anything that ways over a certain amount
  • Bending at the waist
  • Twisting your torso or trunk
  • Driving a motor vehicle

Although it is important to avoid certain movements, it is essential that you still move your body daily to avoid any stiffness that may develop. Your OLSS spine surgeon may suggest that you walk daily to avoid any stiffness that could make your recovery more uncomfortable. For specific directions regarding your initial recovery, speak with a spine specialist at OLSS for instructions unique to your condition.

What to Expect from Week Two through Week Six

When you have recovered for two weeks, you may experience a significant lessening of discomfort. It may mean that you are ready to begin introducing your regular activities into your routine, especially if you’re able to stop using painkillers.

You may experience greater flexibility in your lower back after your procedure, and you need to move your body daily in order to avoid any stiffness.

What to Expect from Week Seven through Week Twelve

The bulk of patients are able to resume daily activities at this point in their recovery, including beginning physical therapy if it is necessary. This is essential for long-term stabilization. Physical therapy can have many benefits post-surgery, including increasing your flexibility and strength. This may even help your posture long-term and aid in the healing of your spine.

Some patients may still experience twinges of discomfort after two months, but most do not experience any pain. Patients may also begin more challenging physical activity or sports after this time, provided that they don’t experience any pain or discomfort when engaging in the activity. Consult your spinal surgeon at OLSS for guidance surrounding what activities may still be off-limits during your recovery.

How to Optimize Your Recovery from a Microdiscectomy Surgery

There is the potential to sabotage recovery if you are not careful in your activities or initiate movements that may be too much for your back. These tips may help you keep your recovery on track so you can get back to the activities you enjoy:

  • Reduce movement in the first two weeks post-surgery
  • Sleep and rest as much as your body needs in the first two weeks post-surgery
  • Follow all of the surgeon’s instructions post-surgery, including taking medication and going to physical therapy when allowed
  • Don’t stop moving your body in order to avoid muscle stiffness, weakness, and pain

Self-care and diligently following the doctor’s instructions are your best bet to a quick recovery post-surgery. For specific advice regarding your recovery, speak with an expert spine specialist at OLSS for unique directions for your condition.

Speak to a Spine Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

With some of the most skilled and highly qualified spine surgeons in the medical field, Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery has the highest success rates, quicker recovery times, and innovative, state-of-the-art technology for microdiscectomy surgery patients.

The expert medical staff at OLSS build a customized treatment plan for you and utilize the most conservative options first so that you have the proper treatment for your condition. The highly skilled surgeons at OLSS are comprehensive in diagnosing the condition that is causing your back pain and provide you with the answers you need to get on the right path to living a pain-free life. Speak with an experienced spine surgeon at (855) 853-6542, or fill out our contact form.

5 Reasons You Should Consider a Ganglion Impar Block

A ganglion impar block is an injection that eases pain for a variety of health conditions in the lower pelvis and groin. It is effective because your brain sends information to the body through nerve pathways. Nerves also receive signals from the body and relay those signals to the brain. A ganglion impar block intercepts these signals in the pelvic or groin region because it is injected into the ganglion impar, or a cluster of nerve intersections in the pelvic area before they can communicate pain to the brain.

If you are considering a ganglion impar block, speak with the spine specialists at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery (OLSS). The medical professionals at OLSS will ensure you receive a customized treatment plan that is best for your spine and back condition. We are proud to offer state-of-the-art, minimally invasive technology if a ganglion impar block treatment is right for you.

Why You Might Need a Ganglion Impar Block

There are a multitude of conditions that may benefit from a ganglion impar block. Above the tailbone, the ganglion impar sits in the pelvis, right in front of the sacrum. Nerves from different regions of the pelvis and groin pass through the ganglion impar, including:

  • Tailbone
  • Vagina and vulva
  • Scrotum
  • Lower part of the urethra
  • Anal region and rectum

A ganglion impar block is needed if you have lower pelvic or groin pain caused by a dysfunction or damage to the organs in that area. Although this is a conservative treatment, your spine specialist at OLSS may only recommend it if you have tried alternative ways of managing your pain. If the pain is not manageable and other methods have been exhausted, they may recommend it for you. Health conditions that may benefit from a ganglion impar block include:

  • Coccydynia
  • Low back pain
  • Pinched nerve
  • Vaginal or vulvar cancer
  • Scrotal cancer
  • Rectal or anal cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pain in the tailbone
  • Pain from other close structures

During your ganglion impar block, a spine specialist at OLSS will begin the treatment by inserting a needle into the region near your tailbone, where your spine ends. They will then move the needle into the position in front of the sacrum and inject into the nerve intersection called the ganglion impar. Your pain should then subside because of the blocked pain signals from that area.

5 Reasons You Should Consider a Ganglion Impar Block

If the pain from your lower pelvic or groin region is impacting your ability to live your day-to-day life, it may be beneficial to consider a ganglion impar block to mitigate some of the discomfort you are experiencing. Benefits to a ganglion impar block include:

  1. A ganglion impar block is minimally invasive
  2. It is a simple and effective procedure
  3. It can be performed in minutes
  4. Offers powerful pain relief, 50-100% reduction in pain sensation
  5. Can treat multiple areas of pain simultaneously

The diagnostics of the procedure are generally performed twice to make certain that the ganglion impar is the source of your pain. Once the spinal specialist at OLSS has confirmed it is indeed the site of your discomfort, the ganglion impar block is performed and offers pain relief for several months at a time.

Speak with a Spine Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

If you are experiencing intense pain from your lower pelvic and groin region that is impacting your ability to live your daily life, you may benefit from speaking to a spinal specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery for a thorough evaluation of your back and spine condition. The award-winning medical team at OLSS will create a tailored treatment plan that is best for your unique needs.

At OLSS, we are proud to offer innovative, state-of-the-art, minimally invasive treatments for patients who are suffering from back and spine pain. We ensure that you have an extensive understanding of your condition and treatment options and have a quick, successful recovery post-treatment. Speak with a spine specialist today at (855) 853-6542, or fill out our contact form.