When most people start experiencing back pain, their natural reaction is to begin to take pain medications. If the problem persists and they visit a primary care provider, they may be prescribed additional pain medicines to control their symptoms. However, pain medications eventually prove to not be enough for the vast majority of patients. When your back pain doesn’t respond to pain medications, non-operative spine care in Los Angeles could be the answer. Here is why pain medicines are often insufficient and how non-operative treatments can help.
The Problem with Pain Medication
Pain medications often provide an initial level of relief for people experiencing back pain. Over time, however, they often lose their effectiveness, either because your body has become accustomed to the medication or because the spinal injury that is the cause of the pain has worsened. Because the medication is not relieving your pain sufficiently anymore, you may begin to take it more frequently. This behavior can lead to a dangerous pain medication dependency. Further, because pain medications only mask the symptoms, the root cause of your back pain is not being addresses. Your back pain may become chronic and your injury can become more severe without the proper treatment.
Non-Operative Spine Care Solutions
Your spine specialist can use non-operative techniques to both control your pain and address the cause. Spinal injections combine anti-inflammatory steroids and numbing medications to calm inflammation and block pain. These injections are targeted specifically to the region of the spine that is affected, so you get more precise pain management without using a medication that impacts you systemically. To address the cause of your back pain, a physical therapy program can be designed to meet your specific needs. Therapy involves stretches and exercises that ease pressure on the nerves in your spine and to rebuild strength. Hot and cold therapy may also be used to reduce inflammation and boost the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Because these solutions do more than temporarily hide your pain, they offer more sustainable solutions without the risk of dependency or overdose.
Back pain can be an extreme burden and detract from many aspects of your day to day life. Often, people considering back injury treatment in Los Angeles don’t realize that there are treatment options available to them that don’t involve surgery. Non operative spine care provides patients suffering from back pain with a less invasive approach for treatment.
When pain or health problems make it difficult for a patient to perform everyday tasks, doctors often prescribe physical therapy. This type of treatment is designed to make these tasks easier and is often used for patients who have suffered injuries. Physical therapy can help patients with back pain manage their discomfort. Employing exercises that help relieve pressure on your spinal nerves, train your body to maintain better posture, and build your flexibility and strength, physical therapy provides patients with a non-surgical treatment option for back pain.
Non-surgical spinal decompression is a back pain treatment that gently stretches the spine to relieve pressure. By taking some of the pressure off of the spinal disks, which are the soft tissues in between the vertebrae, back pain can be reduced. Spinal decompression is a common treatment for conditions such as herniated discs, which are sometimes able to retract back into position as the spine is stretched.
By inserting medications directly into the spine, spinal injections can offer relief for people suffering from back pain or injury. Steroidal injections are often used to reduce inflammation in the spinal tissues, and numbing medications can be injected to address the pain directly. Spinal injections take effect quickly and are helpful for patients that are also being treated with physical therapy, allowing them to perform their exercises with less pain. Prescription pain medications can provide temporary relief for back pain sufferers, but these alone aren’t a recommended treatment option. Pain medications can be habit-forming and don’t address the underlying issue that is causing the pain.
The Athlete’s Guide to Spinal Injuries [INFOGRAPHIC]
A spine injury can happen to anyone at any time, but athletes are particularly vulnerable to both acute and chronic back injuries. Although players in contact sports are most at risk, all athletes have the potential of suffering an injury to the cervical, lumbar, or thoracic spine. If you experience a back injury, the steps you take next will determine how long you will be sidelined. Never try to play through an athletic spine injury, as you could do further damage. Instead, get out of the game, rest, and see a spine specialist right away for diagnosis and treatment. With non-operative spine care and minimally invasive spinal surgery, a specialist can get you off the bench and back to your pre-injury level of fitness. Find out more about spine injuries in athletes in this infographic from Marina Spine Center . Choose us when you need a spine doctor in Los Angeles, and please help your fellow athletes by sharing this information.
Understanding Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a compression of the spinal cord that generally occurs in one of two regions of the spine: the cervical spine, which is in the neck, or the lumbar spine, which is in the lower back. If you’re worried you’re suffering from spinal stenosis in Los Angeles , visit a spine center for diagnosis and treatment options.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include lower back pain and tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates from the lower back to the buttocks, thighs, and legs. Cervical spinal stenosis is much more serious, as it compresses the spinal cord at a higher position, potentially affecting larger areas of the body. Symptoms can include major body and muscle weakness, numbness, and pain.
If you visit a spine center, the doctor will evaluate the severity of your symptoms and create a treatment plan. If your symptoms are mild, you can explore non-surgical treatment options first. These may include exercise, activity modification, and pain relief procedures such as epidural injections. If your symptoms are severe, you’ll be referred to a spine surgeon for surgical treatment options. These options may include cervical spine surgery or lumbar spine surgery, such as foraminotomy or laminoplasty.
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 you’re 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.
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.
Alternatives to Spinal Surgery
Spine surgery should be your last resort when you are trying to alleviate back pain. If you work with a reputable spinal specialist, he or she should try alternative methods to help you gain strength and decrease pain.
Chiropractic methods, acupuncture, and physical therapy are better alternatives to surgery. A spinal doctor should work on decreasing the pain and inflammation enough so a patient can do exercises that improve the trunk muscles. Once these muscles are stronger, there will not be as much stress on the spine.
Check out this video to learn more about alternatives to spinal surgery in Los Angeles. If you suffer from back pain, you should work with a doctor that will try to find the best solution.
What Conditions Are Treated with Lumbar Spine Surgery?
The lumbar spine is the portion of the spine that runs through your lower back. It is a common source of back pain, and several different conditions can cause patients to need lumbar spine surgery . Why might your doctor recommend lumbar spine surgery in Los Angeles? Here is a look at some of the conditions that frequently impact the lumbar spine.
Lumbar radiculopathy occurs when damage to the vertebral discs causes nerve irritation. Damage to a disc can happen through normal wear and tear or traumatic injury. As a result of the damage, the disc protrudes from its normal location and pushes against the nerves. In the lower back, radiculopathy often impacts the sciatic nerve, which causes pain that radiates from the lower back down one leg. In severe cases, lumbar radiculopathy can cause incontinence in the bladder and bowels. Spinal injections can help with the pain in some patients, but spine surgery is often necessary.
If the vertebrae move or grow, the bones may encroach on the spinal cord and nerves. Several different things can cause bony encroachment in the lower spine, including arthritis, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Like radiculopathy, bony encroachment can cause sciatica pain that gets worse with walking. Physical therapy and spinal injections help with pain related to bony encroachment in some patients, while others benefit from spine surgery to decompress the impacted nerves.
Bone and Joint Conditions
Congenital spine conditions, including scoliosis and spina bifida, can lead to lower back pain. For these patients, the need for spine surgery depends on many factors, including patient age and the severity of the symptoms. Degenerative bone and joint conditions can also play a role, particularly osteoarthritis that can cause damage to the facet joints. Most patients with degenerative diseases do not need spine surgery. Lastly, injury to the bones and joints of the spine, such as compression fractures, may lead to lumbar pain that can be resolved with surgery.
A Brief Overview of Lumbar Spine Surgery Recovery
After lumbar spine surgery in Los Angeles, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s advice for recovery to avoid unnecessary complications. Failing to stick to your schedule for physical therapy or trying to be active before you are cleared by your surgeon can even compromise the results of your spine surgery . Here is a look at what you can expect after your procedure.
Immediately after your spine surgery, you will remain in the hospital while your pain is managed and you learn how to care for your wound and move around safely. You will likely begin physical therapy in the hospital as well. The length of your hospital stay depends on the type of surgery you undergo. Patients who have minimally invasive surgery are usually discharged sooner than patients with open procedures. Your spinal surgeon will provide you with information about home care, including how to take your pain medication, what the signs of complications are, and how active you should be. Be sure to report any concerns about symptoms to your surgeon right away and wait for an OK before you start driving or lifting things again.
- Lumbar Spine Surgery
- Spine Surgery
- Marina Spine Center
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Back Pain
- Herniated Discs
- Non-Operative Options
- Lower Back Pain
- Cervical Spine Surgery
- Thoracic Back Pain
- Spinal Stenosis
- Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Epidural Injection
- Sports Injuries
- Stress Fractures
- Pinched Nerve
- Spine Fusion
- Microscopic Foraminotomy
- Neck Pain
- Back Injuries
- Spinal Injuries
- Spinal Injections
- Athletic Spinal Injuries
- Conservative Care
- Torn Ligaments