When Should You Consider Spinal Surgery?
Spinal surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions that affect the back and neck. In many cases, your spine doctor will advise surgery only after non-surgical spinal solutions have failed to provide spine pain relief in Los Angeles or improve your mobility. Under certain conditions when suffering from a spinal issue, you may benefit from considering spine surgery.
Sitting between each of your spinal vertebrae are cushioning discs of tissue called spinal discs. When one of these discs breaks or slips out of place, it results in a herniated disc. This condition can cause symptoms such as back pain or pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in one of the limbs. If your doctor diagnoses you with a herniated disc, there are several treatments that he may recommend to provide spine pain relief. Conservative therapies such as rest, medication, and physical therapy are often sufficient for alleviating herniated disc symptoms. If these non-surgical spinal solutions fail to provide you with relief after an adequate period, then your doctor may suggest spinal surgery.
When a herniated lumbar disc affects one of the sciatic root nerves, which attach to several vertebrae of the spine, the result is a condition called sciatica. The sciatic nerves run from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down through the legs. Symptoms of sciatica often include low back pain or pain that begins in the buttock and reaches the thigh and sometimes the lower leg and foot. If you are diagnosed with sciatica, your doctor is likely to recommend non-surgical spinal solutions such as rest, medication, and physical therapy. If these treatments fail to provide you with sufficient relief, then it may be time to consider spine surgery.
Although scoliosis is often thought of as a childhood condition, it can occur in adults as well. Curvatures of the spine can develop for several reasons, such as undetected birth defects, as a secondary result of degenerative diseases, or spinal cord injury. When conservative treatments fail, your doctor may suggest surgery for scoliosis if you are experiencing chronic and debilitating pain or if the curvature continues to worsen.
Football and Spine Injuries: Get the Facts
Are you a football player who is looking for an injured athlete specialist near Los Angeles, CA to find back or neck pain relief? If so, then you may be suffering from one of several common sports-related spine injuries. The pain and discomfort that these injuries cause can lead to a significant amount of frustration for the individual and an inability to participate in their sport. Read on to get some facts about common football-related spine injuries.
This type of injury frequently affects both football players and non-athletes. In many cases, the condition is the result of trauma. A herniated disc injury occurs when one of the spinal discs, which are cushioning structures between the vertebrae, ruptures and bulges outward. This bulging tissue can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in the back, buttocks, or limbs. Herniated disc treatment typically begins with rest, cold compresses, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatories.
Sprain and Strains
When your athletic spine doctor refers to your back pain, he may use “sprain” to describe to ligament injuries, and “strain” when talking about muscle injuries. In football players, these injuries are frequently caused by an overuse of the structures of the spine, but can also be the result of trauma, insufficient stretching, a lack of conditioning, or poor technique. With these injuries, you may notice increased pain with activity, and relief from pain when you rest. Treatment for back sprains and strains typically begins with rest and a break from athletic participation. Cold compresses, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers may also be advised.
Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis
Another type of injury that is a frequent source of back pain for football players is called spondylolysis. This condition refers to a defect in a small segment of bone in the lower spine called the pars interarticularis . Football puts a significant amount of stress on the bones of the lower back, which can result in spondylolysis in the form of a stress fracture. Rest, anti-inflammatories, a back brace, and physical therapy are commonly used for spondylolysis treatment.
How Sciatica Affects Pregnant Women
Spine specialists frequently treat patients affected by sciatica, which is a common source of lower back pain and the need for spine pain relief in Los Angeles. If you are pregnant, you may be wondering if you will need spine pain relief and how you will be affected by this condition. Sciatic pain during pregnancy is typically caused by weight gain, additional pressure on the sciatic nerve, and changes in your center of gravity. To learn more about how sciatica affects pregnant women, watch this video.
The sciatic nerve is one of the major nerves in your body. It attaches at several locations in the lumbar spine, runs under the piriformis muscle, and extends into the thigh and lower leg. When the sciatic nerve is irritated, it can cause lower back pain. Other sciatica symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the buttock or leg. Luckily, sciatica can often be treated with non-surgical spinal solutions.
What Spine Injuries Are Most Common in Athletes?
Amateur and professional athletes alike subject their bodies to considerable stress from overtraining, repetitive movements, and abrupt impacts. Any part of the body can develop athletic injuries, including the back. Athletes who have suffered a spinal injury in the Los Angeles area can consult a spine doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Athletic spinal injuries can often be treated with conservative therapies, but sometimes, spine surgery is recommended.
Disc injuries are more common among older athletes. These refer to injuries of the intervertebral discs, which are cushion-like structures located between the vertebrae. With age, the discs begin to lose water content, which makes them less flexible and more prone to injury. Athletes who suffer a sudden impact can sustain a herniated disc, which occurs when the inner material pushes through the exterior wall. Herniated disc material can compress nearby spinal nerves, leading to back pain. Other symptoms of disc herniation include numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling that radiates down the limbs. For a serious athlete, getting back in the game quickly is the ultimate goal. Minimally invasive spine surgery translates to a shortened overall recovery time compared to open spine surgery. After the procedure, athletes can expect a period of rest and rehabilitation before getting back to their usual training routines.
Spondylosis does not refer to one specific injury. Rather, itâs an umbrella term that encompasses any sort of degeneration that affects the spine . Anyone can develop spondylosis, but athletes might be more likely to develop it at a younger age than the general population because of the considerable stress placed on their bodies. For instance, gymnastics, football, and weightlifting exert major stress on the lower back. The strain on the back might lead to spondylolisthesis, which is a condition in which a vertebra begins to slip out of place. This may require surgery to correct.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can involve muscle strains and tears of the ligaments. Although these might not require spine surgery, they do require proper treatment to avoid future complications. Rest is called for when athletes experience back pain and other unusual symptoms. After a period of rest, physical therapy can help restore proper functioning.
Tips for Preventing a Season-Ending Back Injury
Spinal injuries and back pain are significant risks in nearly every sport. For athletes, back injuries can be particularly troublesome because they often require lengthy recoveries. While your spine specialist in Los Angeles can offer non-operative spine care and other back injury treatment options that can get you back in the game as soon as possible, prevention is the best strategy. Protect your back from an injury that ruins your season with this advice.
Stretch and Warm-Up
Before any physical activity, whether in practice or in a game, always stretch and warm-up before taking part. Stretching and warming up boosts circulation to your muscles and helps loosing them up in preparation for exertion. Skipping this pre-activity routine means youâll be going right from rest to intense activity, which can cause tears and other injuries in the stiff muscles in your back.
Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
Most sports have safety equipment that is designed to prevent a range of injuries, including spinal injuries. Reduce the urge to compete without it, even during practices. If you already have a back injury and your spine specialist recommends that you wear a brace or other type of protection for you back, follow the treatment protocol. Even if this kind of safety gear isnât typical of your sport, wearing it can make the difference between a minor injury and one that ends your ability to compete for the season.
Listen to Your Body
No athlete wants to volunteer to sit out of a game, but if you experience back pain, rest is essential. Playing through the pain can worsen a spinal injury and lead to long-term immobility. By allowing your body time to heal, your injury may not require any additional treatment, while causing your injury to get worse may leave you in need of spine surgery. For persistent pain, see a spine doctor for a diagnosis and to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Differentiating Between Disc Conditions
When you see a spine specialist, he or she will begin treatment by determining the exact nature of your problem. For many people, back pain is the result of a disc disease, such as a bulging disc, herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Your spine doctor in Los Angeles will diagnose the nature of your disc problem before choosing a treatment plan. Watch this video to learn more.
In all of these conditions, a chronic or acute spinal injury that damages one or more discs causes pressure on the nerves in your back. This pressure causes pain that eventually sends many people to a spine specialist for treatment. The causes and symptoms of disc conditions vary depending on the nature of the injury, so your doctor will tailor your treatment plan accordingly.
A Look at Ligament Injuries in the Back
There are many causes of back pain and, luckily, some conditions can be treated easily and non-invasively by a spine specialist. For people suffering from back pain or back spasms in Los Angeles , the cause of their discomfort may be an injured ligament. Made of tough, gristle-like tissue, ligaments support and surround your joints.
Frequently seen in athletes, ligament injuries are caused when a ligament is torn or immobilized after overstretching a muscle. Called lumbosacral sprains or strains, this type of injury causes the surrounding muscles to spasm as a way of protecting the tissues from further damage. Ligament injuries typically occur after physical trauma to the area. Back sprain, a common cause of lower back pain, is caused by damaged or stretched ligaments in the pelvis.
Causes of Ligament Injuries
People are sometimes surprised to learn that poor posture can result in severe ligament damage. After standing for long periods, people typically begin to slouch forward unconsciously. This causes strain on the ligaments in your back and pelvis. Over time, this way of coping with fatigue can stretch and damage the ligaments, preventing them from properly controlling our joints. Another common source of ligament injury is overuse of our backs in the workplace. For people who consistently bend, lift objects, or twist their backs, over-stretching of the ligaments and back sprain can result.
Ligament Injury Prevention
While work and posture are both common culprits, sports and physical activities are a primary cause of injury to ligaments. Using proper technique and protective gear offer a great defense against injuries of this kind, as well as warming up and stretching prior to engaging in athletic activity. Maintaining a healthy weight is another way of protecting our ligaments from strain and injury. When somebody is carrying excess weight on his frame, the body compensates by arching forward. This promotes abnormal posture, which puts added strain on ligaments in the back and pelvis. Your spine specialist is likely to recommend stretching and exercising properly to help prevent these conditions and ligament injury.
Planning for Your Cervical Spine Surgery Recovery
When your spine doctor recommends cervical spine surgery near Los Angeles , itâs important that you follow his pre-surgery advice. Spine surgery may be necessary if you have suffered from a cervical spine injury or a cervical herniated disc. Your spine specialist should also give you a good idea of what the spine surgery procedure and recovery process will be like.
If your spine doctor specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, your recovery period will be much shorter and less painful. You may need to remain in the hospital for a few days after your spine surgery to ensure that youâre healing properly. Your spine doctor will prescribe medication that will help you manage any pain and discomfort that you experience. He may also provide you with a brace to reduce mobility and pain.
You will begin physical therapy a couple of days after your spinal surgery. Your physical therapist will recommend exercises that you can do at home to restore strength and mobility. If you carefully follow the instructions of your spine doctor and physical therapist, you should be able to resume your normal daily activities in a few days or weeks.
What Is Cervical Laminoplasty?
Cervical laminoplasty is a cervical spine surgery, during which a spine surgeon reshapes or repositions vertebral bone in an attempt to relieve pressure on the nerves of the cervical spine, or the neck. This pressure can be caused by a number of different issues, including arthritis, bone spurs, bone degeneration, herniated discs, cancer, and trauma. If spinal pressure becomes severe enough, a spine surgeon may recommend a laminoplasty in Los Angeles to relieve the pressure and reverse the symptoms.
Who Can Benefit?
Pressure on the spinal cord can be caused by a gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, known as spinal stenosis, as a result of joint and disc degeneration. It is also possible for bone spurs to form in the spinal canal. The pressure caused by this narrowing results in symptoms such as neck pain, numbness, and tingling that may radiate into the shoulders, arms, and hands. It can also cause muscle weakness in the neck and upper extremities, and bowel or bladder problems. Spine surgeons generally recommend cervical spine surgery when spinal stenosis is severe enough that the symptoms prevent you from living your life normally.
How Is It Performed?
If you have a cervical laminoplasty, your spine surgeon will sedate you with general anesthesia. The spine surgeon will create a hinge in your cervical vertebrae by cutting a groove along the side. He will then remove the tips of your spinous processes, allowing the bones to open like a door. This will remove pressure from the spinal cord and nerves. Then, he will remove any other compression sources, such as bone spurs, ligaments, or disc tissues. The bones will then be secured in the âopenâ position using small bone wedges.
What Is the Recovery Time?
After a cervical laminoplasty, your spine surgeon will create a rehabilitation routine for you that may include physical therapy. Some symptoms will disappear right away, and others will gradually diminish. You may stay in the hospital for some time post-surgery, or your spine surgery may be an outpatient procedure. You should be out of bed and walking by 24 hours post-surgery.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Herniated discs can occur in the lower back, the upper back, or the neck. A herniated disc can also be called a slipped disc, or a ruptured disc, and is often caused by aging and gradual wear and tear on the spinal discs. It can also be the result of a traumatic injury, such as a fall. Treatment for a severe herniated disc may include lumbar spine surgery, thoracic spine surgery, or cervical spine surgery. If youâre concerned that you may be suffering from a herniated disc near Los Angeles , continue reading to learn about the common symptoms of this condition.
Arm or Leg Pain
If you have a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, the primary symptom would likely be leg pain. This pain can be
intense, and may spread across your buttocks, thighs, calves, and even part of your feet. A herniated disc in the thoracic spine results in pain that shoots from your shoulder to your arm, and may even spread to your leg if you cough, sneeze, or move your spine in a certain way. A herniated disc in the cervical spine causes neck pain that can radiate to the shoulders and arms.
Numbness or Tingling
A herniated disc often affects the surrounding nerves because the disc tissue can press on the spinal nerves at the level of the spine where the herniation occurred. A lumbar spine herniation will cause numbness and tingling in the lower body. A thoracic spine herniation can cause numbness and tingling in the arms, and a cervical spine herniation may cause numbness and tingling in the shoulders and arms.
If the disc herniation is large, it will press on the spinal nerves that are on both sides of the body. This will cause noticeable and severe muscle weakness in the extremities. Even in minor cases, the muscles that are served by the nerves affected by herniation can become weak. This may cause you to have trouble walking or lifting and carrying items.
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