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.
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 youâve been told that you may need spinal surgery, consider asking your spine surgeon if youâre a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get to Know Dr. Timothy Harsthorn
Dr. Timothy Harsthorn is a spine specialist at Marina Spine Center . Dr. Harsthorn provides a wide range of back and neck surgeries and services.
Dr. Harsthorn has been a spine specialist and orthopedist at Marina Spine Center since earning his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Harsthorn specializes in shoulder and elbow treatments, but regularly assists with patients who have suffered from athletic spinal injuries. Because spinal injuries often come with other symptoms, including numbness in the arms and legs, Dr. Harsthornâs care is often relied upon for individuals who suffer from back pain. Dr. Harsthorn is a skilled orthopedist. His medical services and expertise broadly focus on foot and ankle treatments, as well as hand and wrist treatments. Dr. Harsthorn also regularly provides hip and knee replacement surgeries. If you suffer from pain or long-term discomfort in your back, neck, arms, legs, hands, or feet, it is important to contact a spine specialist to determine the root cause of your injury. Spine doctors can often use non-invasive, nonsurgical treatments to help you get immediate and lasting pain relief.
Preventing a Recurrent Herniated Disc
If you have recurrent disc herniation , undergoing spine surgery in Los Angeles may be necessary. A herniated disc is one of the most common problems a spine specialist treats. Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when the spineâs soft center pushes through the spinal bones. A herniated disc can cause severe lower back pain and numbness in the arms and legs. Keep reading to learn more about how you can prevent it from recurring.
Visiting a spine specialist for a proper diagnosis is the first step in preventing a herniated disc from returning. A herniated disc is accompanied by many different symptoms, some of which can also indicate other back problems. For example, you may experience lower back pain or numbness after a spinal injury. By ruling out other kinds of spinal cord injuries, your spine doctor is better able to treat any back pain or discomfort stemming from your herniated disc.
After your spine specialist has diagnosed the problem, he or she may suggest physical therapy to treat the herniated disc. The key to herniated disc prevention is early intervention. When it is diagnosed right away, most people can use nonsurgical techniques to ease their symptoms and prevent recurrence. Your spine specialist may suggest specific exercises designed to strengthen your back muscles. He or she may also prescribe bed rest for the first day or two after experiencing back pain.
In addition to rest and physical therapy, a spine doctor might prescribe medications and injections to reduce pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen and naproxen are often recommended, as they are designed to ease inflammation. Epidural steroid injections can also be injected into the lower back. These injections are highly effective in reducing lower back pain. Steroid injections can generally provide immediate, short-tern pain relief. With early treatment, you and your spine doctor can create a plan to help you avoid spine surgery unless absolutely necessary.
Meet Dr. Edward Nomoto
Dr. Edward Nomoto is one of our incredibly talented and experienced spine specialists at our spine and pain center in Los Angeles. At Marina Spine Center , we are committed to hiring only the best and most qualified spine doctors and spine surgeons to treat our patients. Dr. Nomoto is no exception, as he is a board-eligible spine surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive and non-operative spine care to correct spinal deformities and disorders.
Dr. Nomoto attended medical school at Stanford University, followed by a residency at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship in spine surgery at the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders. While he was there, he completed clinical research in non-operative spine care.
In addition to his extensive education and training, Dr. Nomoto is also the co-author of a chapter about minimally invasive spine surgery in a spine surgery textbook. On top of that, he is a member of the North American Spine Society, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the Society of Lateral Access Surgery. He is also a candidate member of the Scoliosis Research Society.
Spotlight on Spondylosis
If youâre concerned that youâre suffering from a spinal condition like spondylosis, you should visit a spine specialist in Los Angeles as soon as possible. Spondylosis causes degeneration in the neck, middle back, and lower back, and can cause significant neck pain and back pain. Keep reading to learn about the primary causes, symptoms, and treatment of spondylosis before you visit a spine and pain center near you.
Causes of Spondylosis
As you age, the discs, cartilage and bones in your neck and spinal column might begin to degrade. This degradation can develop because your discs have become dehydrated, dried out, or shrunken with age, causing increased contact between the vertebrae of your spine. You can also develop herniated discs, which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica. Disc degeneration can also lead to the development of bone spurs, which may put pressure on or pinch the nerve roots in the spine. Spinal ligaments may also stiffen and weaken with age, which affects the flexibility of your neck and can cause neck pain and neck stiffness.
Common Spondylosis Symptoms
For some people, spondylosis does not cause any symptoms at all. You might not even know that you have the condition unless you visit a spine doctor for unrelated reasons. Other people do develop symptoms, which include neck pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, back spasms, and neck or back stiffness. You might also experience sciatica, which causes pain to radiate from your neck or lower back down to one of your limbs. Sciatica also causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. If you experience a sudden loss of bowel or bladder control on top of any of these symptoms, you should visit a spine doctor immediately.
How a Spine Specialist Can Treat Spondylosis
The treatment provided by your spine specialist will depend upon the severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include medication such as anti-inflammatories, steroids, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. You may also need to try physical therapy, acupuncture, or behavior modification techniques. Spine surgery is only necessary in severe cases.
An Athlete’s Guide to Protecting the Spine
If youâre an athlete, itâs important that you take care to avoid suffering from athletic spinal injuries in Los Angeles . A spine specialist at a spine and pain center near you can advise you on how to avoid sports injuries, spinal injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Here is an athleteâs guide to protecting the spine while working out, training, or playing sports.
Warm Up Appropriately Before Physical Activity
When you stretch and warm up before you engage in physical activity, you make your muscles, tendons, and ligaments more flexible and relaxed. This prevents strains, sprains, and tears that can result from tight muscles, and can also improve your performance and prevent sports injuries. You should stretch slowly, and hold each stretch for ten to thirty seconds without bouncing. You should stretch each muscle and limb for the same amount of time for best results. You can also take a brisk walk prior to beginning your workout to further stretch your muscles.
Use the Right Equipment and Gear
Itâs crucial that you use equipment and gear that is appropriate for your physical activity and skill level. If youâre participating in contact sports, or an activity that puts you at risk for a spinal injury or spinal cord injury, you must wear protective gear. This gear may include helmets, mouth guards, face guards, neck rolls, and protective pads. Repetitive stress to the feet and legs can cause lower back pain, so itâs important to also wear the correct shoes for your athletic activity. Your shoes should fit well and provide the appropriate amount of support.
Donât Overdo It
Many sports injuries can occur as a result of pushing yourself beyond your limits. Pay attention to the signals that your body is sending you, and stop before you injure yourself. You can rest for short periods of time during physical activity to allow your muscles time to recover. You can also try cross training to work different muscles at different times to reduce your risk of a sports injury.
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.
- 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