• Treating Thoracic Pain with Fusion Surgery

    Pain and injury of the upper back, also called the thoracic spine, is uncommon but can cause you significant pain and discomfort when it does occur. If you’re suffering from upper back pain in Los Angeles, then you may benefit from fusion surgery. The purpose of this type of spine surgery is to alleviate back pain by providing stability and decreasing movement in joints of the spine that are causing nerve irritation. Thoracic fusion surgery is typically recommended for spine deformities, treating a fractured vertebra, and treating vertebral instability.

    If your spine specialist advises fusion surgery to treat your back pain, there are a variety of approaches that she may use to complete the procedure. However, all fusion surgeries involve the use of a bone graft that is placed between the vertebrae. The purpose of the bone graft is to create a solid bonding of the two vertebrae located at the site which is the source of your symptoms. In some cases, hardware may also be used to promote the union or provide additional stability. A recovery time will follow the surgery, and your surgeon may advise a break from your normal activities and participation in a rehabilitation program.

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  • 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. spine - injury

    Herniated Discs

    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.

  • 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.

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    Herniated Discs

    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

    Spondylosis does not refer to one specific injury. Rather, it’s 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.

  • Why Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Means Maximum Health

    The decision to have any sort of spine surgery should not be taken lightly. All spinal surgeries at clinics in Los Angeles carry inherent risks, such as the risk of adverse reactions to the anesthesia. However, minimally invasive spine surgery is definitely a superior choice. With this approach, the spine doctor creates a few very small incisions instead of one very large incision. Specialized surgical tools are used to complete the procedure through these tiny incisions. Minimally invasive spine surgery is generally preferable for patients because the body can heal smaller incisions much more easily and quickly than a large incision.

    This translates to a shorter stay in the hospital or clinic and an accelerated overall recovery time. Patients can get back to their normal daily routines more quickly. Additionally, spinal surgery performed with minimally invasive techniques typically results in less blood loss and a reduced risk of complications. There is usually less damage inflicted on the surrounding muscles and other tissues, which provides for better long-term functioning. Patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery often find that they need less pain medication, thereby reducing the risk of adverse reactions from these powerful drugs. If you’ve been told that you may need spinal surgery, consider asking your spine surgeon if you’re a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery.

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  • What to Expect Before, During, and After Spinal Injections

    For minor spinal injuries such as back strain, oral pain relievers and a brief period of rest may be all that is needed to address symptoms. In more serious cases, patients might consider undergoing spinal injections at a spine and pain center in Los Angeles. A spinal injection will deliver anti-inflammatory and numbing medications directly to the site of the injury to promote healing and bring rapid relief of your back pain. If your spine specialist determines that you could be a good candidate for spinal injections, he or she will let you know what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

    Spinal-Injections

    Preparation

    It’s important to provide your spine specialist with the full details of your medical history. Let him or her know if you’re taking any medications or supplements, particularly those that can thin the blood such as aspirin and St. John’s wort. Bring any imaging studies you’ve already had, such as X-rays or CT scans. If you haven’t yet had imaging scans performed, you may be asked to undergo some testing. You might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for a period of time prior to the injection. This is for your own safety. Arrange to have someone else drive you to the spine center and back home afterwards. If your health suddenly changes before your appointment, such as if you develop a cold or other illness, inform the spine specialist. He or she may need to reschedule your injection.

    Procedure

    When you arrive at the clinic, the doctor may place an intravenous line and monitoring equipment to keep track of your vital signs. You’ll be asked to lie on a table in a certain position. Your skin will be sterilized and numbed. Under live X-ray guidance, the doctor will place a needle in the epidural space before injecting the medicines.

    Recovery

    If you received a sedative, you’ll be asked not to drive for at least eight hours. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay with you for the rest of the day. You should plan on taking it easy for the remainder of the day, although you can generally expect to return to work the following day. If you experience pain at the injection site, you can apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel. It can take a few days or perhaps a week to experience the full benefits of the anti-inflammatory medications.

  • Choosing a Treatment Plan for Thoracic Back Pain

    The thoracic spine is the portion located in your upper back, between the cervical spine in your neck and the lumbar spine in your lower back. Pain in the thoracic spine is less common than back pain that affects other areas, because this part of the back is relatively stable and moves only minimally. If you experience pain in your thoracic spine, see a spine doctor in Los Angeles for diagnosis and care. As with all types of spinal injuries, upper back pain is easiest to treat when you see a spine specialist soon after the onset of symptoms.

    Thoracic back pain is typically caused by muscle irritation, or myofascial pain, or joint dysfunction. Myofascial pain usually occurs because of overexertion or de-conditioning of the muscles in the thoracic region. Joint dysfunction can also be caused by accidents and other spine injuries.

    Non-operative spine care is sufficient for most cases of upper back pain. Physical therapy, steroid injections, and massage can all be helpful. When non-invasive methods don’t work, surgical solutions including fusion and laminectomy, are possible.

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  • Non-Surgical Treatments for Back Pain and Injuries

    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.

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    Physical Therapy

    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.

    Spinal Decompression

    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.

    Spinal Injections

    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.

  • A Look at Facet Joint Injections

    Your spine doctor may recommend that you receive facet joint injections if you’re suffering from chronic back spasms, neck pain, or back pain in Los Angeles . Facet joint injections are safe, virtually pain free, and can provide

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    almost immediate relief from back pain. Keep reading to learn more about the facet injection procedure.

    Prior to Your Facet Joint Injection
    Before you undergo a facet joint injection, you’ll need to meet with a spine specialist or spine doctor at a spine and pain center near you to determine if the treatment is appropriate for your symptoms. Your spine doctor will perform a physical examination, take your medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and perform diagnostic testing. This testing may include taking digital images or x-rays of your spine to diagnose the root cause of your back pain or neck pain. If he determines that facet joint injections will effectively reduce or eliminate your pain, he will schedule an appointment for the treatment.

    The Facet Joint Injection Procedure
    When you return to your spine and pain center for a facet joint injection, your spine doctor may administer a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure. Your spine doctor will treat your skin with a numbing anesthetic, and will then insert a fluoroscope, or x-ray guidance, to guide a small needle into your facet joint. He will then inject contrast dye into the joint to ensure that the needle is in the exact right place. After this, he will inject a mixture of an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication into your joint.

    After a Facet Joint Injection
    After your procedure, you’ll remain in the recovery area of your spine and pain center for about 20-30 minutes. Your spine specialist may ask you to perform activities that would normally result in back pain or neck pain. You should notice pain relief about a week after the injection, at which point you can resume your normal activities. If you experience significant pain relief, your spine doctor may recommend that you return three times per year for further injections.

  • What Types of Injections Are Used to Treat Back Pain?

    Back pain can be debilitating, and may prevent you from participating in your normal daily activities. A spine specialist at a spine and pain center in Los Angeles can offer you non-operative spine care like spinal injections to quickly, safely, and effectively relieve your back pain. Here is a look at the different types of spinal injections recommended for back pain and back injury treatment.

    Epidural Steroid Injections
    Your spine specialist may recommend an epidural injection of anti-inflammatory steroids if you suffer from lower back pain and sciatica. Before administering the epidural, your spine doctor will numb your skin with a local anesthetic, and Spine and Pain Center in Los Angeles will use a fluoroscope to guide the needle into the nerve root. The procedure is pain-free, and only takes about fifteen to thirty minutes. You may need to return to your spine and pain center every four to six weeks for additional injections.

    Nerve Root Injections
    Another common lower back pain or back injury treatment is nerve root injections. Nerve root injections utilize both anti-inflammatory steroids and lidocaine to provide back pain relief. Your spine doctor may utilize nerve root injections to determine which nerve is the source of your lower back pain and sciatica. The lidocaine numbs the nerve root to relieve pain, and the steroid reduces the inflammation and pain that is caused by the pressure on the nerve root. Your spine doctor will administer a local anesthetic prior to your nerve root injection. The entire procedure takes around fifteen to twenty minutes, and most patients report immediate back pain relief that lasts for several months.

    Facet Joint Injections
    Facet joints are located along the spinal cord, between each set of vertebrae. The tissues around your facet joints can become inflamed and swollen, causing upper back pain or lower back pain. Facet joint injections consist of a local anesthetic and steroid, and are administered by a spine doctor directly into the facet joint in a ten to fifteen minute procedure. Back pain relief is immediate, and can last for several months.