• Herniated Discs 101

    If you’ve visited a spine specialist because of persistent or severe back pain, you may have been diagnosed with a herniated disc . When you watch this video, you’ll see an animation of how a herniated disc can occur and how it might be treatable with spine surgery at a clinic in Los Angeles. The intervertebral discs of the spine provide cushioning and flexibility. When the exterior wall of a disc degenerates, it becomes more vulnerable to injury. A crack in the exterior wall can allow the inner material to protrude through to the outside. Subsequently, this material can compress a nearby nerve, leading to symptoms like back pain.

    Spine surgery isn’t always necessary for herniated discs. In fact, many patients can find sufficient relief of their symptoms with conservative treatments like rest and physical therapy. But when the symptoms persist longer than six weeks, spine surgery might be recommended. The spine specialist can remove the herniated portion of the disc, which relieves pressure on the nerves.

  • Common Sports Injuries That Affect the Spine

    Athletes demand a lot from their bodies in every training session, practice, and game. Through added physical stress, athletes at all levels may suffer from injuries to the spine that cause serious pain and discomfort. While spine injuries can keep you off the field, you can speed up your recovery by consulting an orthopedic physician specializing in sports medicine and spine surgery in Los Angeles. With the right care, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and care that will promote a successful return to the game following the common conditions discussed below. When

    Sports Injuries in Los Angeles

    surgery is necessary, minimally-invasive procedures will ensure a faster return to play with optimal strength and mobility.

    Disc injury
    Heavy lifting, sudden twisting, and impact injuries can lead to disc injuries in which one of the spinal discs move out of place or bulges outward. Disc injuries in the lower spine might improve while lying down or bending over, since the positions take pressure off the spinal nerves from the protruding disc. A herniated or slipped disc may be treated with a variety of modalities—including chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and spinal decompression.

    Muscle and ligament sprains
    There are many muscles that directly surround and support the spine as well as a number of connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. Overstretching these tissues through repetitive motions, poor posture, or lack of conditioning might lead to pain and stiffness that will respond positively to a guided exercise program following sufficient rest.

    Pinched nerves
    A pinched nerve or stinger is an injury in which one of the nerves in the neck or shoulder is compressed or overstretched. This injury is characterized by painful shooting sensations in one of the arms, which is often only temporary. Because symptoms can clear up spontaneously, athletes may neglect proper treatment, thus risking a recurring injury.

  • Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports: No. 27 Robert Watkins, Sports Medicine

    The top echelon of sports surgeons may consist of only Dr. Robert Watkins III and Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Watkins is an orthopedic spine surgeon whose practice is in Marina Del Rey. Watkins repaired Peyton Manning’s neck, Dwight Howard’s back and his clients include many other distinguished athletes. Read more about Dr. Watkins in the LA Daily News, Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports: No. 27 Robert Watkins, Sports Medicine .

  • Which Spinal Surgery Is Right For You? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Many spinal problems that cause pain, numbness, weakness, and immobility can be corrected through spine surgery. When you consult a spine surgeon serving Los Angeles , he will be able to recommend the most appropriate surgical procedure for you based on your diagnosis, symptoms, and general health. In many cases, minimally invasive surgery is an option for patients. Minimally invasive procedures offer many benefits over traditional surgery, including less damage to tissues and muscles, less post-operative pain, shortened recovery times, and better outcomes. To learn more about common spine surgeries like discectomy, fusion, disc replacement, laminectomy, and laminoplasty, read this helpful infographic. You’ll also find information about which conditions can be treated through spine surgery, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and pinched nerves. An experienced spine surgeon can determine whether you are a good candidate for any of these surgeries.

    Spine Surgery Infographic

  • What Is a Discectomy?

    Herniated discs cause pain and discomfort. A spinal surgeon can use a discectomy to treat a herniated disc and bring relief to the patient. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure and how it can help:

    The Need for a Discectomy
    This procedure targets herniated discs in the upper (cervical), mid (thoracic), or lower (lumbar) back. It is performed if a patient has a lot of pain or numbness in the legs that might prevent him or her from participating in regular activities, and typically after non-surgical treatments have not decreased the pain. The surgeon will perform a physical exam to see if there is any weakness, decreased range of motion, or uncomfortable feelings that surgery can help. Patients who have

    Discectomy in Los Angeles

    cauda equine syndrome, which prevents control of the bladder and causes new weakness in the legs usually pursue surgery as soon as possible.

    The Discectomy Procedure
    The surgeon will make a small incision over the affected area and move the muscles aside to get a better view of the vertebrae. The surgical team might also take x-rays during the procedure to get a clear view of the herniated disc. The surgeon must also move the nerve roots to get better access to the intervertebral disc. He or she will then remove the ruptured material to get rid of pressure that is causing pain. The surgeon also removes some of the nucleus pulposus material inside the disc to prevent the issue from recurring. Before closing the incision, the surgeon will return the nerves and the muscles to their original location.

    Recovery After the Procedure
    Since this is a surgical procedure, it does require a brief healing period. Soon after your procedure, your physician will likely advise you to walk around or perform other exercises to strengthen your body as it heals.