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    Causes of Back Pain in Men

    by admin

    Back pain affects people of all ages and genders. Although back pain is more common in women than in men, it also affects a significant portion of the male population. Given that back pain can lead to diminished mobility and a decreased quality of life, it should be given prompt medical attention. 

    In men, back pain can be triggered by a broad range of factors, from a severe infection to a mild injury. Understanding the different causes of back pain in men can help you identify the warning signs of a serious condition and seek out the medical care that you need. 

    This article will explore the possible causes of back pain in men, as well as the treatments available today. 

    Table of Contents

    What Causes Back Pain in Men?

    There are several different causes of back pain in men. The most common of these conditions include:

    • Spinal disorders

    Spinal disorders can lead to inflammation, nerve impingement, and, ultimately, back pain. Some of the most prevalent spinal disorders that affect men include:

    • Spinal stenosis, a condition involving the narrowing of the spinal cord
    • Bulging or herniated disc, which occurs when an intervertebral disc becomes damaged
    • Spondylolisthesis, a condition involving a displaced vertebra due to spinal instability
    • Spinal fractures, which typically result from a sudden impact, like a car accident
    • Scoliosis, which refers to an atypical spinal curvature
    • Degenerative disc disease, a condition referring to back pain caused by age-related wear and tear on an intervertebral disc
    • Spinal tumor, which can press on nerves within the spine and cause back pain

    Additionally, spinal injuries that occurred in childhood can manifest in later years, providing a painful reminder of long-ago trauma. 

    Back strains and sprains are extremely common causes of lower back pain across all demographics. A back strain occurs when some of the muscles and/or tendons of the spine become damaged. The tissue may be pulled, torn, or twisted, typically due to overextending the spine.

    Though it’s commonly confused with a strain, a back sprain affects the ligaments of the spine, not the muscles or tendons. With this injury, the ligaments are strained or torn due to excess strain on the back. 

    • Underlying medical conditions

    A wide range of medical conditions can trigger back pain in men. The most prevalent of these conditions are arthritis, sleep disorders, shingles, kidney stones, and kidney infections. 

    • Arthritis refers to joint inflammation. Many different types of arthritis can affect the facet joints of the spine, such as osteoarthritis. Typically, arthritis of the spine causes chronic back pain.
    • Sleep disorders can contribute to back pain by compromising the body’s natural repair processes. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone, which heals damaged tissue and prevents pain. Men with disordered sleep don’t receive enough growth hormone, which can exacerbate back pain. 
    • Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes a painful, blistering rash. In some patients, shingles also leads to burning, aching, and/or stabbing back pain. 
    • Kidney problems, including kidney stones and kidney infections, can cause intense back pain
    • Poor posture

    Over an extended period, poor posture can lead to back pain in men. This is because poor posture forces the spine out of its proper alignment. This places added stress on the structures of the spine and speeds up the process of spinal wear and tear. 

    • Obesity

    Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor for back pain in men. With every step, excess weight places added impact on the structures of the spine. Over time, this extra stress with day-to-day motions can lead to back pain. 

    • Physical activity and lifestyle habits

    Men are especially prone to traumatic back pain due to their participation in high-impact physical activities and other lifestyle habits. These activities and habits include heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, and inconsistent exercise (i.e., the weekend warrior). These activities carry a significant risk of injury to the structures of the spine, as well as the ligaments, muscles, and tendons that support the spine.

    Accidents and sports injuries can lead to sudden back injuries. But, even simple day-to-day actions, such as improperly lifting a heavy object or twisting the back awkwardly when reaching for an object can trigger traumatic back injuries.

    The physical stresses and strains on the spine to which men are subjected can also accelerate and exacerbate the onset of spinal conditions, such as degenerative disc disease.

    Which Infection Causes Back Pain in Men?

    Kidney and bladder infections can cause back pain in men. With a kidney infection, men typically experience pain in the sides of the back. If a bladder infection spreads to the kidneys, it can cause mid-back pain. 

    Back pain caused by an infection won’t improve with changes in body positioning. This is unlike most other forms of back pain, which can be alleviated by moving or changing position.  

    Lower Back Pain Causes Male

    Lower back pain causes in males include:

    • Lower back strain: Lower back pain can stem from a muscle strain in the lower back. This commonly results from men overstretching or overusing the lower back muscles. For example, lifting a heavy object, weightlifting with poor posture, or repeatedly straining the lower back muscles in sports (i.e. golf) can cause a lower back strain. 
    • Arthritis of the lumbar spine: If arthritis affects the lumbar spine, it may trigger lower back pain. The most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain in men is osteoarthritis, which results from gradual wear and tear on the spine. 
    • Kidney problems: As mentioned above, kidney stones can trigger severe pain in the lower back, along with painful urination and other symptoms. Kidney infections can also cause lower back pain in men; this type of infection often also causes pain in the side of the body and around the genitals. 
    • Lumbar spinal stenosis: Lumbar spinal stenosis often results from degenerative changes in the lumbar spine, which occur in almost everyone over age 60. Spinal stenosis is equally as common in both genders, making it a prevalent cause of lower back pain in men. 
    • Lumbar disc damage: The lumbar spinal discs are more susceptible to damage than other areas of the spine. The lumbar spine bears more impact and is more flexible than the rest of the spine. So, lower back pain in men is often a symptom of a bulging or herniated disc.   
    • Lumbar spondylolisthesis: Lumbar spondylolisthesis is another condition resulting from age-related spinal degeneration. It can trigger chronic lower back pain in men, particularly those aged 50 and older. 

    Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and accounts for most back pain cases. Therefore, many cases of back pain in men stem from a problem in the lower back. 

    To tell if your back pain is kidney-related, consider the following factors:

    • Location

    Kidney pain is generally felt higher on the back and “deeper” within the body when compared to back pain. Additionally, kidney pain can radiate to the abdomen or crotch area. In contrast, if back pain radiates, it typically travels down the legs. 

    • Frequency

    As mentioned in the previous section, back pain can usually be improved by changing the position of the body. Patients may find temporary back pain relief by bending forward, standing up, or sitting down. 

    Kidney pain, on the other hand, won’t improve with different positions or movements. It tends to be constant. 

    • Other symptoms

    Serious kidney problems can cause other symptoms, including fatigue, fever, and body aches. If you experience these symptoms with what you suspect is kidney pain, or if the pain is sudden and excruciating, visit a doctor immediately. 

    Can Prostate Problems Cause Lower Back Pain?

    Yes, prostate problems can cause lower back pain in men. Recurrent pain or stiffness in the lower back is a symptom of prostate problems, along with:

    • A frequent impulse to urinate
    • Having to get up at night several times to urinate
    • Painful ejaculation
    • Pain or burning while urinating
    • Bloody semen or urine
    • Persistent pain and/or stiffness in the hips, pelvis rectal area, or upper thighs
    • Urinary dribbling

    If you experience these symptoms of prostate problems, seek out urgent medical care. 

    What Organs Can Cause Lower Back Pain in Men?

    The kidneys, prostate, bladder, colon, liver, gallbladder, and appendix are organs that can cause lower back pain in men. With organ-related lower back pain, you may experience pain in only one side of the back. 

    Why is Back Pain at Night a Red Flag?

    Back pain at night is considered a red flag because it can be a sign of a serious condition, like cancer or an infection. This is particularly true for back pain that doesn’t just continue at night but worsens when you’re sleeping. 

    If you experience worsening back pain at night, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious medical issue. But, especially if you experience other symptoms in conjunction with back pain, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Other symptoms to keep an eye out for with back pain at night include saddle anesthesia, incontinence, and weakness, numbness, or pain in the leg muscles. 

    What Helps Back Pain for Men?

    Prompt medical treatment and self-care help back pain for men. If you’re concerned about an underlying condition that could be causing your back pain, remember that the great majority of back pain cases in men involve muscle trauma, strains, or other minor injuries. These common conditions resolve on their own with rest and proper care.

    However, if your back pain persists despite at-home therapies, a qualified medical specialist can identify the problem. After diagnosing the condition, your physician can recommend a variety of effective treatment options, most of which are non-invasive. Even serious spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis can be effectively treated.

    When non-invasive treatments fail to provide relief after six to 12 months, your physician may recommend surgery. Spinal decompression surgery can relieve pressure on spinal nerves, dramatically reducing pain and the other symptoms associated with various spinal conditions.

    Thankfully, patients today no longer need to surrender the full range of spinal motion to benefit from spinal decompression surgery. In the past, spinal fusion surgery was routinely performed in conjunction with spinal decompression surgery to stabilize the spine. Now, the TOPS™ System is available as a spinal fusion alternative.

    As a non-fusion implant, the TOPS™ System enables spinal decompression patients to maintain their full range of spinal motion. Instead of fusing adjacent vertebrae at the point of the decompression surgery, this implant allows each vertebra to maintain independent flexion and lateral motion.

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    Though men are likely to experience back pain at some point in life, they have many advanced treatment options to choose from today. With these effective therapies, men can achieve relief from back pain, even in its most serious forms. 

    What Causes Lower Back Pain in Females?

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    Back pain is a universal health concern, and it doesn’t discriminate. The factors that trigger back pain are often the same in women and men. However, certain causes of back pain, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and osteoporosis, are either unique to or more prevalent among women.

    The most common issues of lower back pain in females are menstruation, pregnancy, stress, osteoporosis, and spinal conditions like disc disease, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Let’s research them deeper:

    Table of Contents

    Menstruation

    Menstruation is a key cause of back pain that exclusively affects women. During menstruation, the uterus produces substances known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins manage muscle contraction, and during menstruation, they send messages to the uterus instructing it to contract. 

    These muscle contractions are the direct cause of cramps and back pain during menstruation. Additionally, the cramps associated with menstruation place added stress on the back muscles, potentially leading to back muscle pain.

    Pregnancy

    Pregnancy often causes back pain, particularly in its later stages. The added weight of carrying the fetus puts significant stress on the spine, as well as the supporting muscles and ligaments. 

    Additionally, the ligaments stretch and soften during pregnancy. This is one of the body’s methods of childbirth preparation. Unfortunately, as the ligaments soften, the lower back and pelvis become less supported. This may trigger back pain. 

    Also, while being overweight for any reason can cause back pain, the rapid weight gain that occurs during pregnancy compounds the problem.

    Stress

    Mental stress is known to cause or contribute to back pain, in part because it contributes to the involuntary tightening of muscles in the back. Stress can also cause or exacerbate back pain during pregnancy which, as a major life change, is a time of great psychological stress.

    Osteoporosis

    Later in life, our bodies’ bone-building process gradually weakens. As a result, calcium is depleted from our bones, and our overall bone mass drops. The bones become more brittle, making them more prone to breakage. This phenomenon, which is referred to as osteoporosis, is more common among women than men. 

    If osteoporosis causes spinal fractures (known as compression fractures), it can lead to severe back pain. With a compression fracture from osteoporosis, patients typically struggle to sit, stand, and walk. 

    Spinal Conditions

    Common spinal conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis, affect women, just as they do men. These conditions can lead to chronic lower back pain. 

    Lower Right Back Pain in Females

    Lower right back pain in females can be caused by spinal conditions, soft tissue injuries, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pregnancy, or various underlying conditions. 

    The spinal conditions that can cause lower right back pain in females include spinal stenosis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, and disc degeneration. These conditions can trigger spinal nerve compression, which may lead to sharp or burning pain in the right side of the back. 

    Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and pregnancy are possible causes of lower right back pain that can only occur in women. 

    • Endometriosis is a condition that impacts the lining of the uterus and may lead to chronic pain in the lower back. 
    • Pregnancy can trigger pelvic pain that impacts the lower back. Women may experience this pain in one or both sides of the back. 
    • Uterine fibroids are a type of non-cancerous growth that develop in the uterus. Lower right back pain is a potential symptom of uterine fibroids. 

    What Female Organs Can Cause Lower Back Pain?

    Certain internal organs can lead to lower right back pain in female patients. Specifically, organs located in the pelvis, abdomen, and mid-back area may be the root of lower back pain. 

    • Reproductive organs

    In women, the reproductive organs in the pelvis can trigger pain in the lower right area of the back. For instance, endometriosis, which typically affects the ovaries and fallopian tubes, can lead to pain that extends to the lower back. 

    • The appendix

    The appendix is an organ that’s linked to the large intestine. People who develop appendicitis, which occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, can develop lower right back pain. 

    Appendicitis requires immediate treatment to prevent rupture and complications. In addition to lower right back pain, symptoms may include sudden pain on the right side of the lower abdomen that worsens with abrupt motions, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. 

    • Kidney

    The kidneys are organs that remove waste from the blood. Kidney issues, such as kidney stones or a kidney infection, can lead to pain on one side of the lower back. Other symptoms of kidney problems often include pain while urinating, nausea, and vomiting. 

    • Colon

    Ulcerative colitis is a condition that’s characterized by inflammation in the colon. It causes repeated cramping in the abdomen that may trigger lower back pain, as well as symptoms including diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. 

    How Can a Woman Find Out That Their Lower Back Pain is Serious?

    Extreme lower back pain can be a cause for concern. But, since back pain is a common ailment, it can be difficult to know whether or not your pain requires medical attention. 

    As a general rule of thumb, visit your doctor for an evaluation if you experience back pain that persists for longer than two weeks and holds you back from regular activities. If you experience severe back pain, visit a doctor sooner than after two weeks. Additionally, seek out immediate medical care if you have:

    • Fever with back pain
    • Sudden weakness in the arms or legs
    • Unexplained weight loss with back pain
    • Lost bladder or bowel control
    • Back pain following trauma, such as a car accident

    Lower Back Pain Treatment For Women

    Whatever its origin, there’s no reason to live with back pain, as a variety of treatment options exist for all their causes. Women wondering how to help lower back pain may consider physical therapy, medication, or even lifestyle changes to alleviate back pain caused by spinal conditions.

    • Physical therapy

    Physical therapy can help with lower back pain by helping relieve tension in the back muscles. Additionally, physical therapy exercises can target and strengthen the muscles that support the back. 

    • Pain medication

    Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications may help women manage lower back pain in the short term. These medications can also help alleviate menstrual cramps and the associated back pain.

    However, women experiencing back pain caused by more complex conditions, such as endometriosis, should speak with their doctors about the available prescription medications for the condition.  

    • Lifestyle changes

    Lifestyle changes may help you naturally achieve relief from lower back pain. For example, in women experiencing back pain during pregnancy, gentle, low-impact exercise may offer relief. 

    Women with back pain caused by cramps during menstruation can consider lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol consumption and adding more high-fiber foods to their diet. Additionally, women with spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis, may need to modify their activities to avoid straining the spine. 

    Spine Surgery For Back Pain in Women

    Surgery is rarely required for women with back pain. However, if the back pain doesn’t resolve within six months of conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend spine surgery for lasting pain relief. 

    Among women for whom spine surgery is recommended, there are multiple surgical approaches to consider. Thankfully, advanced microsurgical techniques and stabilization systems provide effective treatments for potentially disabling spinal conditions.

    Decompression Surgery For Back Pain in Women

    Decompression spinal surgery is a commonly performed spinal procedure for conditions including spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and herniated disc. In this procedure, a portion of the vertebra that’s impinging on a spinal nerve is removed. Decompression surgery can have a dramatic and immediate impact on back pain associated with prevalent spinal conditions.

    Spinal Fusion

    Spinal fusion surgery has traditionally been performed in conjunction with spinal decompression. This process involves fusing adjacent vertebrae at the affected segment to stabilize the spine.

    Unfortunately, while spinal fusion may offer pain relief for patients suffering from chronic back pain, it has numerous drawbacks. For one, spinal fusion eliminates the patient’s motion at the affected segment. As a result, the patient loses the ability to bend, twist, and flex that area of the spine. 

    Additionally, spinal fusion can lead to adjacent segment disease. This fusion complication occurs when the vertebrae surrounding the fused bone degenerate faster than usual. As a result, the patient may experience back pain, stiffness, and/or neurological symptoms.  

    Spinal Fusion Alternatives For Women With Back Pain

    Alternatives to spinal fusion are available and can help patients avoid the drawbacks of spinal fusion. The TOPS™ System from Premia Spine, in particular, provides a superior, clinically-proven outcome when compared to spinal fusion back surgery.

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    Unlike spinal fusion, the TOPS™ System preserves the vertebrae’s range of motion. Having been used since 2005, the system has enabled patients around the world to maintain their full range of activities following decompression surgery. TOPS™ has further advanced the treatment of common but potentially debilitating spinal conditions.

    The TOPS™ System has been FDA-approved for individuals between 35 and 80 years old with degenerative spondylolisthesis at a level from L3 to L5 and lumbar spinal stenosis. The FDA also granted TOPS™ a superiority-to-fusion claim. 

    Women experiencing back pain from spinal conditions should consult their doctors to learn about the complete range of spinal treatments available today. 

    Central Canal Stenosis

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    Spinal stenosis that develops in the spinal canal is known as central canal stenosis. If it progresses, this form of the condition can affect the spinal cord, potentially leading to severe complications. 

    Understanding central canal stenosis and how it’s treated can help you avoid its complications. As with any spinal condition, a proactive approach is the best way to recover quickly and effectively.

    Table of Contents

    Continue reading to learn more about central canal stenosis and the treatment options available to heal it. 

    Can Central Canal Stenosis Heal?

    The symptoms of central canal stenosis can heal, but the condition can’t be cured.

    Spinal stenosis surgery is the only way to open up the spinal canal after it has narrowed. Non-surgical spinal stenosis treatment focuses on alleviating the condition’s symptoms, such as back pain, stiffness, numbness, weakness, and tingling. 

    Is Central Canal Stenosis Serious?

    Though common, central canal stenosis can become serious if it’s left untreated. So, even in its early stages, it requires prompt medical treatment to slow down the narrowing process. 

    If central canal stenosis isn’t treated for an extended period, it can have serious consequences. When the spinal cord is compressed from this condition, patients may experience severe symptoms of nerve compression including:

    • Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
    • Numbness in the genital area
    • Sudden, severe back pain that won’t go away
    • Sudden numbness and/or weakness in any region of the body

    If you experience any of these symptoms with central canal stenosis, seek out emergency medical treatment. They can indicate serious complications, such as cauda equina syndrome. 

    Mild to Moderate Central Canal Stenosis

    Mild to moderate central canal stenosis may be classified as grade 1 or grade 2 stenosis. With grade 1, or mild, stenosis, all of the cauda equina are still visible in axial images. With grade 2, or moderate, stenosis, some of the cauda equina are impossible to separate.  

    Most often, mild to moderate central canal stenosis can be treated with non-surgical therapies. Although your doctor can’t open the spinal canal up again, they can offer treatment options to alleviate your symptoms and improve your spinal function. 

    Non-surgical treatment options for mild to moderate central canal stenosis include:

    • Physical therapy, which focuses on improving spinal alignment, stability, and support to prevent worsening symptoms
    • Lifestyle modifications, which typically involve adjusting your movement patterns, exercise routine, and sleeping/sitting positions to reduce pressure on the spine
    • Injections, which may include epidural or facet joint injections to temporarily alleviate pain (patients should receive no more than three to four injections per year, as they can lead to complications in excess)
    • Medications, either prescription or over the counter, to alleviate inflammation, improve circulation, and manage pain

    Severe Central Canal Stenosis L4-L5 and Its Treatment

    Treatment for severe central canal stenosis L4-L5 often involves surgery. At this stage of the condition, non-surgical therapies often fail to provide relief. Additionally, patients with severe stenosis may be at risk for serious neurological complications if the condition progresses. 

    Surgery is the only way to physically create more space in the spinal canal for patients with central canal stenosis at the L4-L5 level. 

    Central Canal Stenosis Surgery

    Central canal stenosis surgery typically involves a procedure known as a laminectomy

    Laminectomy for Central Canal Stenosis

    Laminectomy is a form of surgical spinal decompression that may be used to treat advanced cases of central canal stenosis. This procedure focuses on the lamina, which is a piece of bone that covers the back of the spinal canal. 

    By removing some or all of the lamina, your surgeon can alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves or spinal cord. This gives the damaged tissue a chance to heal and resolves neurological symptoms stemming from central canal stenosis. 

    Since laminectomy involves removing part of a spinal structure, it can lead to instability. To negate this risk, surgeons often perform spinal fusion during laminectomy (but there are more effective spinal fusion alternatives).

    Spinal Fusion with Laminectomy

    During spinal fusion, the surgeon fuses the affected vertebrae by placing bone graft material in between them. Over the course of several months, these vertebrae will become one. 

    Unfortunately, by creating a solid bone, spinal fusion eliminates the vertebrae’s ability to move. This disrupts the distribution of impact across the spine, potentially leading to adjacent segment disease. Additionally, patients may notice reduced spinal mobility after the fusion procedure. 

    Should I Have Surgery For Central Canal Stenosis?

    Generally, you should have surgery for central canal stenosis if radiculopathy or myelopathy symptoms disrupt your day-to-day activities. Central canal stenosis surgery is also typically only recommended if non-invasive treatment methods have failed to offer relief. 

    • Radiculopathy is the term used to describe damage to the nerve roots where they exit the spine. It’s a possible complication of central canal stenosis and causes symptoms including:
      • Sharp or burning pain that travels from the back to other areas of the body
      • Tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in the extremities
      • Lost sensation
      • Diminished motor skills
    • Myelopathy refers to a spinal cord injury caused by severe compression. It can result from central canal stenosis and causes similar symptoms to radiculopathy. 

    In their severe forms, radiculopathy and myelopathy pose a serious risk for permanent nerve damage. Loss of urinary and/or bowel control, among other symptoms, can become a reality if central canal stenosis is left untreated for an extended period. 

    Your doctor can help you determine if central canal stenosis surgery is the right choice for you. 

    Do I Have To Undergo Spinal Fusion For Severe Central Canal Stenosis?

    Spinal fusion is no longer the only option to stabilize the spine for patients with severe central canal stenosis. The TOPS System is a mechanical, non-fusion implant device that restores the stability of the spine without compromising its motion in any direction. 

    TOPS is implanted into the treatment area (it can be used for the L2 through L5 segments) to replace the tissue removed during decompression surgery. It provides a much shorter recovery period than spinal fusion and allows central canal stenosis patients to safely return to their favorite activities. 

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    Reach out to a spine specialist in your area to learn more about the treatments available for central canal stenosis. 

    Lumbar Hemilaminectomy Surgery: What’s The Difference From Laminectomy?

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    Many different procedures fall under the umbrella of spinal decompression surgery. Designed to ease compression on the spinal cord and nerves, spinal decompression is widely used to treat spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, slipped discs, and related conditions. 

    A lumbar hemilaminectomy is one type of spinal decompression surgery. Although this procedure is similar to lumbar laminectomy, it has a few key differences. 

    In this article, we’ll discuss how lumbar hemilaminectomy and laminectomy are different. We’ll also go over the non-surgical and minimally-invasive alternatives to hemilaminectomy that are available to patients. 

    What Are The Lamina of The Spine?

    Before we explain lumbar hemilaminectomy surgery, it’s crucial to explain the role of the laminae in the spine. Each spinal bone, called a vertebra, contains two laminae. The laminae form a protective cover for the spinal canal.

    The lamina also links the spinous process to the transverse process within a vertebra. The spinous process is a small section of bone that protrudes from the back of the spinal cord; the transverse process is another section of bone that serves as a connection point for the back muscles and ligaments to the spine. 

    Lumbar Hemilaminectomy vs. Laminectomy

    Lumbar hemilaminectomy and laminectomy are both types of spinal decompression surgery. While these procedures are very closely related, there’s one key difference between them. 

    What is a Hemilaminectomy?

    In a laminectomy, the surgeon removes both of the laminae from the targeted vertebrae. However, in hemilaminectomy, the surgeon discards just one lamina from each vertebra. Specifically, the surgeon will only remove the lamina on the side of the spinal canal that’s experiencing nerve compression. 

    Lumbar hemilaminectomy and lumbar laminectomy are both performed on the lumbar (lower) spine. Although it’s less common, thoracic and cervical hemilaminectomy and laminectomy can also be performed. 

    Note that patients who require decompression on both sides of the spinal canal will likely require a laminectomy, rather than a hemilaminectomy. 

    The Goal of Lumbar Hemilaminectomy

    Lumbar hemilaminectomy and laminectomy share a common goal: To open up additional space in the spinal canal and resolve nerve compression. By releasing the pressure on spinal nerves, lumbar hemilaminectomy can give patients relief from back pain and stiffness, along with tingling and numbness in the legs. 

    Conditions That Can Require Lumbar Hemilaminectomy vs. Laminectomy

    Laminectomy

    The predominant indication for laminectomy is spinal stenosis

    Spinal stenosis is a condition that’s characterized by the gradual reduction of space in the spinal canal. With nerves and the spinal cord located in the spinal canal, this condition can trigger nerve compression. 

    Key signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

    • Back pain
    • Cramping in the legs
    • Sciatica, which refers to nerve pain that moves from the back to the buttocks and legs
    • A pins and needles sensation in the legs, feet, or buttocks
    • A heavy sensation in the legs
    • In instances of severe spinal stenosis, lost bladder or bowel control

    Laminectomy helps relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis by removing pressure from the spinal nerves. Additionally, by creating more space in the spinal canal, a laminectomy can provide a better environment for damaged tissue to heal. 

    Hemilaminectomy

    Hemilaminectomy is most often performed to treat a herniated disc. Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, this common spinal injury can cause pain, stiffness, and tingling or weakness in the legs. 

    In between each of the spine’s vertebrae, there’s a cushion-like disc. The intervertebral discs protect the vertebrae from damage by absorbing impact and facilitating motion. 

    Whether due to age-related changes to the spinal discs, a sudden injury to the spine, or repeated strain on the spine, intervertebral discs can become damaged. The soft interior of the disc can protrude from a break in the disc’s tough outer layer, causing a herniated disc. 

    To cure the symptoms of a herniated disc that isn’t resolved with non-invasive treatment methods, patients may require both hemilaminectomy and discectomy. 

    Hemilaminectomy and Discectomy

    A discectomy is a surgical procedure that’s performed to treat a herniated disc. It involves removing some or all of a damaged intervertebral disc to alleviate pressure on the adjacent spinal nerves. 

    During a discectomy, surgeons aim to leave as much of the disc as possible alone. However, in severe cases, the full spinal disc may need to be removed to fully alleviate the patient’s symptoms. 

    Lumbar hemilaminectomy and discectomy are often performed together in a single procedure to treat a herniated lumbar disc. By removing both the damaged disc and the lamina, the procedure can effectively resolve nerve compression caused by a slipped disc. 

    Spinal Fusion With Lumbar Hemilaminectomy

    To avert spinal instability after lumbar hemilaminectomy, spinal fusion may be performed. This spinal procedure involves placing bone graft material between the affected vertebrae. Over time, the graft will stimulate bone growth and fuse the vertebrae, forming one bone. 

    Although spinal fusion can provide stability in lumbar hemilaminectomy, it has downsides including:

    Recovery Period

    Spinal fusion can prolong your lumbar hemilaminectomy recovery by a significant margin. Alone (without fusion), the hemilaminectomy recovery period typically lasts a total of around 4 to 6 weeks. 

    Patients can require a year or more to make a full recovery from spinal fusion. Additionally, it may take as long as 4 to 6 weeks for young, healthy individuals with sedentary professionals to return to work after the procedure. For older patients, it can take up to 6 months to get back to work after fusion. 

    Spinal Flexibility

    Though spinal fusion can effectively prevent instability after hemilaminectomy, it presents a large risk of reduced mobility. Patients who undergo fusion often lose flexibility in the spine and aren’t able to bend or flex the spine like they used to. 

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    To gain spinal stability after hemilaminectomy without compromising your spinal flexibility, you may want to consider a spinal fusion alternative. Spinal devices like the TOPS System can stabilize the spine while retaining the motion of the affected vertebrae.

    Alternatives to Lumbar Hemilaminectomy

    While hemilaminectomy can successfully resolve nerve compression for many patients, it’s rarely the only treatment option. Patients can also consider non-surgical treatments and minimally-invasive spine surgery. 

    Non-Invasive Treatments

    There are a variety of non-invasive treatments that can help alleviate pain and promote healing for patients with a herniated disc. Options include:

    • Physical therapy
    • Chiropractic care
    • Massage therapy
    • Acupuncture 
    • Rest and lifestyle modifications
    • Pain medications
    • Epidural steroid injections

    Note that certain non-invasive treatments, including pain medications and epidural steroid injections, often aren’t considered long-term solutions for chronic back pain. Steroid injections should only be administered a few times per year to avoid tissue damage. 

    Minimally-Invasive Hemilaminectomy

    Spinal implants such as the TOPS spinal implant can support minimally-invasive hemilaminectomies. Minimally-invasive surgery, or MIS, typically involves a smaller incision, less blood loss, and less anesthesia. 

    Minimally-invasive procedures are always preferable to conventional procedures because they provide a reduced risk of complications, shorter recovery period, and less postoperative pain. By reducing the need for fusion, MIS spinal implant systems offer these benefits for hemilaminectomy patients. 

    If you’re suffering from symptoms of a chronic spinal condition, talk to your doctor about the range of treatment options available to you. 

    Differences Between Vascular and Neurogenic Claudication

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    Claudication is a possible cause of muscular pain, most commonly in the legs. This symptom can be considered either vascular or neurogenic. Understanding the differences between vascular and neurogenic claudication is an important step toward achieving pain relief. 

    Understanding Neurogenic Claudication vs. Vascular Claudication

    Claudication is characterized by pain in certain muscles during physical activity. It most often affects the hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, or feet. But, claudication can instead impact the forearms, biceps, and shoulders, depending on its root cause. 

    What is Vascular Claudication?

    Vascular claudication is widely known as one of the symptoms of peripheral artery disease. This means that it’s triggered by poor blood flow to the muscles as a result of arterial damage.

    Peripheral Artery Disease

    Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a circulatory condition that occurs when plaque builds up in the peripheral arteries (the large arteries that send blood to the arms and legs) and causes damage. Plaque consists of cholesterol and fats. When it accumulates in the arteries, it limits the flow of blood (and, therefore, oxygen and nutrients) to the muscles. 

    Limited circulation to the muscles often doesn’t cause symptoms when the patient is at rest. However, when the patient uses the muscles that are receiving limited blood flow, pain can result. This muscular pain with activity is referred to as claudication, while the buildup of plaque in the arteries is known as atherosclerosis. 

    Risk Factors For Vascular Claudication

    The key risk factors for vascular claudication include:

    • Being older than 70 years of age
    • Smoking
    • Having diabetes
    • Having a family history of claudication, peripheral artery disease, or atherosclerosis
    • Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
    • Being obese (BMI over 30)

    What is Neurogenic Claudication?

    Neurogenic claudication refers to muscle pain caused by nerve compression in the lumbar (lower) spine. It can also be called pseudoclaudication. 

    There are several possible causes of lumbar nerve compression that lead to neurogenic claudication. These include:

    • Spinal stenosis

    Spinal stenosis is the most common cause of neurogenic claudication. This spinal condition results from abnormal constriction of the space in the spinal canal. As the space in the spine becomes more limited, it may trigger nerve compression and neural claudication. 

    Along with neural claudication, spinal stenosis can cause:

    • Pain in the neck or lower back 
    • Weakness, tingling, and/or numbness in the extremities
    • Cramping in the legs
    • Herniated disc

    A herniated disc is a spinal injury that occurs when the exterior of an intervertebral disc becomes damaged. The soft interior of the disc may protrude through a break in the disc exterior. If the damaged disc presses on spinal nerves, pain and neurological symptoms (like weakness, tingling, and numbness in the legs or feet) can occur. 

    Neurogenic claudication is a possible symptom of a herniated disc. In most cases, the herniated disc leads to spinal stenosis, which then triggers neurogenic claudication. 

    • Bone spurs 

    Bone spurs are hard, smooth growths made out of bone tissue. Age-related spinal degeneration can break down the cartilage that prevents friction between the bones of the spine. As a result, bone spurs can form. 

    Again, bone spurs can reduce the space in the spinal canal, leading to spinal stenosis. Neurogenic claudication may then develop as a result.  

    • Spondylolisthesis  

    Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that’s characterized by instability. With this condition, the bones of the spine move more than usual and one of the vertebrae slips out of its usual position. The displaced vertebra then lands on the vertebra beneath it. 

    The poor alignment of the vertebrae with spondylolisthesis can bring about neural claudication and other symptoms including:

    • Spasms in the hamstring muscle of the thigh
    • Stiffness and lost range of motion in the back
    • Back pain, namely while bending forward
    • Worsened pain while walking or standing for a long time
    • Weakness, tingling, and/or numbness in the lower extremities

    Claudication: Neurogenic vs. Vascular

    While neurogenic claudication involves the nervous system, vascular claudication involves the circulatory (or vascular) system. 

    Since neurogenic and vascular claudication are rooted in different bodily systems, they’re treated differently. 

    Treatment: Vascular vs. Neurogenic Claudication

    How is Vascular Claudication Treated?

    Since vascular claudication is often a sign of peripheral artery disease or related conditions, prompt treatment is essential. In most cases, your doctor will first recommend non-surgical treatments to manage this condition, such as:

    • Stopping tobacco use, which is among the largest risk factors for vascular claudication.
    • Adding walking to your regular routine. Walking is the optimal exercise for claudication and peripheral artery disease. 
    • Taking prescription medications, such as antiplatelet, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications. 

    In severe cases of vascular claudication that aren’t improved with conventional treatment, vascular surgery may be recommended. In this surgical procedure, a blood vessel that’s in good condition is first taken from an area of the body. That blood vessel is then used to replace the claudication-causing vessel, which restores the patient’s healthy blood flow. 

    How is Neurogenic Claudication Treated?

    Patients experiencing neurogenic claudication will first be recommended to undergo non-surgical treatments, such as:

    • Anti-inflammatory medications

    Medications can help patients manage pain and reduce inflammation from neurogenic claudication. However, in many cases, medications aren’t a long-term treatment option

    • Physical therapy

    A trained physical therapist can help alleviate tension, strengthen the supportive muscles of the spine, and promote spinal alignment. Your physical therapist may recommend exercises to help treat neurogenic claudication, as well as hot/cold therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies. 

    • Epidural steroid injections

    Steroid injections can provide short-term pain relief for patients struggling with neurogenic claudication. However, patients should only undergo a few injections per year. 

    • Lifestyle modifications

    Rest, a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and low-impact exercise can help patients manage neurogenic claudication and recover from spinal disorders. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help in the treatment of this condition by reducing the impact on the spine with daily activities. 

    Spinal Surgery For Neurogenic Claudication

    If patients don’t respond to several months of non-surgical treatments, spine surgery may be suggested. Surgical neurogenic claudication treatment typically involves spinal decompression.

    What is Spinal Decompression Surgery?

    Spinal decompression is a term used to describe many different surgical methods. All of these methods share a goal: to alleviate spinal nerve compression. Examples of spinal decompression procedures include laminectomy, laminotomy, foraminotomy, and discectomy. 

    Spinal Fusion Alternatives

    Patients looking to avoid spinal fusion in surgery to resolve neurogenic claudication have other options. Spinal implants, such as the TOPS System, stabilize the spine without fusing the affected vertebrae. Instead, the implant moves with the spine, allowing the patient to bend and twist after the procedure. 

    The TOPS System also allows for minimally-invasive surgery in neurogenic claudication treatment. This means that patients will enjoy a shorter recovery period, less pain after the surgery, and a lower risk of medical complications.

    Conclusion: Neurogenic vs. Vascular Claudication

    Neurogenic claudication and vascular claudication are unique conditions with different causes and treatments. Patients suffering from neurogenic claudication who are recommended to undergo spinal surgery may consider fusion alternatives, such as the TOPS spinal implant, to avoid losing spinal flexibility.  

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    Pedicle Screw Systems As An Aid in the Surgical Cure of Spinal Disorders

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    In certain types of spinal surgery, pedicle screws are an essential tool for strength and stability. Traditionally used in spinal fusion, these screws can prevent motion in the injured vertebrae as they heal. 

    However, with many patients now seeking minimally-invasive alternatives to conventional spinal fusion, a wider range of pedicle screw systems is now available. In this article, we’ll cover how pedicle screw systems are used to cure spinal disorders and discuss the minimally-invasive options that are now accessible to patients. 

    What Are Pedicle Screws?

    A pedicle screw is a type of spinal implant. It’s typically used in spinal fusion to help reinforce and stabilize the affected vertebrae as they fuse and heal.

    Traditionally, pedicle screws are positioned on top of and below the fused vertebrae, and the surgeon utilizes a rod to link the screws. Together, the rod and the pedicle screws inhibit spinal motion as the bone graft heals. 

    Once the bone graft completely heals after spinal fusion, the pedicle screws and rods aren’t required for stability. In some cases, the surgeon may recommend removing the screws and rods with another surgical procedure. However, this is uncommon, and the implants are typically left alone. 

    What Are Pedicles?

    Pedicle screws get their name from the fact that the screws are secured to the pedicles of the spine. The pedicles are located on the back of the vertebrae, and each vertebra has two pedicles. These bony projections protect the spinal nerves and spinal cord while connecting the back and front portions of the vertebrae. 

    What Spinal Disorders Are Pedicle Screws Used To Treat?

    Pedicle screws are used for support in the surgical treatment of various spinal disorders, including:

    Spinal Stenosis

    Spinal stenosis is a disorder that develops when the space in the spinal canal becomes constricted. With less open space in the spinal canal, the spinal cord and nerves can become irritated and compressed. 

    If spinal stenosis puts pressure on the spinal nerves, patients may experience symptoms including:

    • Persistent back pain
    • An aching or burning pain that travels from the back to the buttocks and down the legs
    • Pain that improves when patients lean forward and worsen with prolonged periods of walking or standing
    • Cramping, weakness, tingling, and/or numbness in the lower extremities (for lumbar spinal stenosis) or upper extremities (for cervical spinal stenosis)

    Spinal stenosis is frequently caused by osteoarthritis. With osteoarthritis, wear and tear on the cartilage that protects the joints, including the joints in the spine, causes pain and inflammation. Osteoarthritis can lead to bone spur development in the spine, which may, in turn, cause spinal stenosis. 

    Other possible causes of spinal stenosis include herniated discs, spinal fractures, thickened spinal ligaments, and genetic factors. 

    Spondylolisthesis

    Spondylolisthesis develops as a result of instability in the spine. With this condition, the vertebrae move excessively, causing one vertebra to slip out of position. 

    With spondylolisthesis, the vertebra that becomes displaced typically settles on the bone directly below it. The misalignment of the vertebrae can compress nearby nerves, possibly leading to symptoms including:

    • Stiffness in the back
    • Pain while bending forward
    • Hamstring muscle spasms
    • Neurological symptoms in the foot

    Spondylolisthesis may be triggered by genetic factors, age-related spinal degeneration, and/or sports injuries. 

    Degenerative Disc Disease

    Degenerative disc disease is a condition that’s caused by gradual wear and tear on the discs in between the spinal bones. These discs cushion the vertebrae and shield them from impact. So, when disc degeneration occurs, the following symptoms can result:

    • Back and/or neck pain
    • Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs or arms
    • Sciatica (nerve pain that radiates from the back to the buttocks and down the legs
    • Pain that gets worse with bending, lifting, or remaining seated

    The intervertebral discs naturally dry out and become thinner with age. If this leads to a crack in the exterior of a disc, a herniated disc can occur.

    Herniated Disc

    A herniated disc, (which is also called a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disc), happens as a result of spinal disc damage. If the exterior layer of the disc becomes damaged, the jelly-like disc interior can press through the crack. The protruding disc interior can then press on close-by spinal nerves, causing pain and neurological symptoms. 

    Pedicle Screws in Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery

    Conventionally, spinal fusion isn’t a minimally-invasive procedure. However, many patients are seeking minimally-invasive alternatives to traditional spinal surgery for a shorter recovery period, less scarring, less postoperative pain, and less time spent in the hospital.

    With advances in medical technology, spinal implant systems can now provide the stability of fusion with a less invasive procedure. ProMIS™ System Implants are an example of a spinal device system that can facilitate minimally-invasive spinal surgery. 

    The Premia Spine ProMIS™ System provides several benefits over traditional spinal fusion. For one, this pedicle screw system has multiple features that aren’t found with conventional screws. Along with the TOPS™ spinal implant, which stabilizes the spine without requiring fusion, the ProMIS™ System can enhance the results of spinal decompression surgery. 

    The benefits of the Premia Spine MIS pedicle screw system include: 

    • Treated screw surface

    Pedicle screws from the ProMIS™ System feature a screw surface that’s been treated with calcium phosphate. This treatment passivates the screw, giving it a rough surface with cuts and crevices. As a result, the screw surface is increased and bony ingrowth is improved.

    • Sterile double blister packaging

    Premia Spine’s pedicle screws are protected with sterile double blister packaging. This prevents cross-contamination and reduces the risk of infection, implant damage, and deterioration. 

    • Advanced screw design

    Premia’s pedicle screw system features a screw design with a conical shape and constant shaft diameter. Distal Concial Cancellous Threads facilitate an enhanced bite in the vertebrae; Proximal Cortical Threads provide an improved bite in the pedicle. 

    Conclusion

    Pedicle screws have long been successfully used to surgically treat spinal disorders. However, with the pedicle screw system market shifting toward minimally invasive options, solutions like the ProMIS™ System are gaining greater prominence. 

    If you’re considering spinal surgery to resolve chronic back pain, consider talking to your doctor about minimally-invasive pedicle screw systems. 

    Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) Surgery and Alternatives

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    Extreme lateral interbody fusion, or XLIF, is an approach to lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Unlike traditional spinal fusion, which involves a large incision and requires slicing through the back muscles, the XLIF procedure is minimally-invasive. 

    In XLIF, no spinal bones or ligaments need to be extracted. This makes it possible to place a spinal implant without affecting the spinal cord. 

    What is XLIF Surgery Used For?

    XLIF surgery is used to relieve symptoms of lumbar spine conditions. Conditions that are traditionally treated with spinal fusion can often be successfully treated with XLIF. 

    Examples of conditions that can be treated with XLIF include:

    • Spondylolisthesis

    Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slips out of position and lands on the vertebra below it. This condition tends to occur with spinal instability and can lead to pain in the lower back and leg. Muscle spasms, stiffness, numbness, and tingling are other common symptoms of spondylolisthesis. 

    • Spinal stenosis 

    Spinal stenosis is a condition involving abnormally narrow spaces in the spine. Without enough room in the spinal canal, pressure can be placed on nearby nerves. When these nerves are irritated, it can lead to muscle weakness, tingling, and pain. 

    • Slipped disc in the lumbar spine

    Also referred to as a bulging or herniated disc, a slipped disc occurs when one of the discs located between each vertebra in the spine becomes damaged. Specifically, this condition involves a crack in the exterior of the disc, through which the jelly-like interior can protrude.

    A slipped disc can press on spinal nerves, leading to pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. Some patients experience no symptoms from a slipped disc. In these cases, the disc may be identified in an image of the spine taken for a different purpose. 

    • Degenerative disc disease

    Degenerative disc disease occurs as a result of wear and tear on the discs in between the spinal bones. As people age, the spinal discs gradually break down, dry out, and become weaker. This can cause increased pressure on the vertebrae and irritated spinal nerves. 

    While degenerative disc disease alone may not require surgery, it can lead to debilitating conditions including spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and osteoarthritis.

    The Benefits of XLIF Surgery

    In comparison to traditional surgeries for lumbar spine disorders, XLIF surgery provides a variety of benefits, including:

    • Reduced pain and blood loss

    Since XLIF is considered a minimally-invasive surgery, it causes less trauma to the tissues and reduces blood loss. By avoiding trauma to the ligaments, muscles, or bones in the back, this procedure also leads to less pain during the recovery process. 

    • Shortened time in surgery and at the hospital 

    XLIF surgery can often be completed in 60 minutes, which reduces the amount of time that the patient spends under anesthesia. Additionally, many patients can leave the hospital on the same day as XLIF surgery.

    • Faster recovery

    After XLIF surgery, patients generally have a recovery period that lasts for a few months. This is in contrast to conventional spinal procedures, which often require six months or longer for recovery. 

    • Walk on the same day as surgery

    XLIF is often an outpatient procedure. This means that most patients can get back on their feet and walk on the same day as the procedure. Conventional spinal surgery commonly requires patients to stay in the hospital for one or multiple days after the procedure. 

    The Steps of XLIF Surgery

    Patients are put under general anesthesia before XLIF surgery. Additionally, throughout the procedure, your surgeon will use electromyography (EMG) to receive information on the position of nearby nerves. This is a precaution to avoid nerve damage. 

    Preliminary X-Rays

    XLIF surgery begins with the patient lying on one side of the body. With the patient in this position, the surgeon can perform x-rays to pinpoint and mark on the skin the location of the spinal disc that needs to be removed. 

    Incision in The Flank

    With the location of the disc marked, the surgeon can create an incision in the patient’s flank, which is the area on the back and sides of the abdomen. 

    Reposition The Peritoneum

    After the incision is made, the surgeon can shift the peritoneum away from the abdominal wall using a finger. The peritoneum serves as the lining for the abdominal wall and encloses the organs in the abdomen.  

    Second Incision and Dilator Placement

    Next, the surgeon creates another incision on the patient’s side and places a dilator into it. Using an x-ray, the surgeon will check the position of the dilator, ensuring that it’s right above the spinal disc. 

    Establishing Access to The Spine

    A probe can then be used to separate the psoas muscle and a retractor can be positioned to establish entry to the spine. 

    Discectomy

    Once the surgeon has access to the spine, they can remove the interior (also called the nucleus) of the damaged disc. This process is known as discectomy and gets the surrounding vertebrae ready for spinal fusion. 

    Spacer Placement 

    Next, a spacer containing a bone graft is inserted into the area that was previously occupied by the disc nucleus. The spacer keeps the vertebrae aligned and works with the bone graft to stimulate fusion. The surgeon will check the position of the spacer using an x-ray. 

    Posterior Fixation

    The surgeon may also choose to perform posterior fixation involving facet screws or pedicle screws. Posterior fixation can help the patient maintain spinal alignment and stability after the procedure.  

    The XLIF surgery process can vary somewhat depending on the patient’s unique needs. Before the procedure, your surgeon can provide the details of the procedure for your circumstances. 

    Alternatives to XLIF

    Non-Surgical Treatments

    Lumbar spine conditions are usually first treated with non-surgical methods before surgery is considered. The most common non-invasive treatment approaches for spinal conditions include rest, lifestyle changes, medications, injections, and physical therapy. 

    • Rest

    Rest can prevent strain on the lumbar spine to relieve inflammation and pain. Your doctor may recommend that you rest for days or weeks, depending on the severity of your condition. While you’re resting, make sure to avoid motions that put pressure on the spine, including lifting, bending, and poor posture. 

    • Lifestyle changes

    Smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight are examples of lifestyle factors that can contribute to spinal conditions. Your physician may work with you to develop a healthier lifestyle for relief from pain and stiffness in the spine.

    If you have an occupation that involves repetitive motions that strain the spine, your physician may recommend that you take more frequent breaks at work. 

    • Medications

    Anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants may help treat lumbar spine pain. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking medications to prevent side effects and complications. 

    • Injections

    Epidural steroid injections can prevent the transmission of pain signals from inflamed spinal nerves. While it’s important not to exceed three to six steroid injections per year, this non-surgical treatment option may help you achieve relief from spinal pain. 

    • Physical therapy 

    Physical therapy can support your recovery from a spinal condition by improving your posture, enhancing the strength of muscles that support the spine, and devising a personalized exercise program. Other therapeutic methods, including massage and heat/cold therapy, may be provided during physical therapy. 

    • Alternative therapies

    For some patients, alternative therapies including acupuncture and chiropractic care can provide relief from spinal symptoms. These methods can release tension and improve spinal alignment. 

    ALIF

    ALIF stands for anterior interbody fusion. It’s a surgical method of spinal fusion during which the spine is accessed from the front of the body.

    By reaching the spine from the front of the body, the surgeon must move aside large blood vessels and abdominal organs. This is in contrast to XLIF, which doesn’t require moving blood vessels or vital organs because the spine is accessed from the patient’s side. With this in mind, XLIF is generally considered to be a lower-risk procedure with the same result. 

    PLIF

    PLIF stands for posterior interbody fusion. This approach to spinal fusion involves accessing the spine from the patient’s back. In order to do so, the surgeon must cut large muscles in the back, leading to an extensive recovery process and postoperative pain. 

    Similar to ALIF, PLIF is considered to present a higher risk of complications than XLIF and involves a longer recovery period.  

    TOPS Spinal Surgery

    Although it’s less invasive than either ALIF or PLIF, XLIF is still a method of spinal fusion. So, it comes along with the downsides of spinal fusion, including a reduced range of motion in the spine and a significant recovery process. 

    Spinal implants like the TOPS System provide an alternative to fusion in spinal surgery. Unlike fusion, the TOPS device allows patients to retain their full range of motion right after the procedure. Additionally, by opting for an implant, patients can enjoy a quicker recovery period after surgery.

    The TOPS spinal implant can help you avoid a lengthy recovery process and stiffness from spinal fusion. To learn more about this treatment option, contact Premia Spine.  

    What Causes Back Pain?

    by admin

    Ancient medical experts believed that back pain was brought on by a fluid imbalance. Therefore, many patients with back pain were treated with bloodletting.

    Today, we know that back pain can have a variety of causes. Muscle and ligament sprains cause many episodes of back pain. Problems in the internal organs or tumors can also lead to back pain by affecting nerves that emanate from the spinal column. Stress can even trigger back pain by tightening the back muscles.

    In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key types and causes of back pain to help you more effectively find professional pain care. 

    What Are the Types of Back Pain?

    The main types of back pain are:

    • Acute back pain
    • Subacute back pain
    • Chronic back pain

    Acute back pain occurs suddenly and typically resolves after a few days or weeks. It’s most often caused by abrupt injuries to the muscles or ligaments that support the spine, such as muscle strains, tears, or spasms. 

    Subacute back pain may occur suddenly or gradually and typically resolves after one to three months. This type of back pain can be caused by either abrupt injuries, like muscle strains, or overuse/degenerative injuries, like a herniated disc. 

    Chronic back pain is often considered the most severe. It’s defined as pain that develops quickly or gradually, persists longer than three months, and occurs every day. Some of the most common causes of chronic back pain include spinal arthritis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease.

    What Organs Can Cause Lower Back Pain?

    The organs that can cause lower back pain include the kidneys, colon, appendix, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, uterus, and reproductive organs. 

    Let’s explore how these organs can lead to lower back pain in more detail:

    • Kidneys

    Kidney stones and kidney infections can both cause lower back pain. Kidney stones can trigger pain on one or both sides of the back, typically in between the ribs and hips.

    Kidney infection is a severe form of urinary tract infection also referred to as acute pyelonephritis. It may cause pain on the side of the back with the infected kidney (if the left kidney is infected, the left side of the lower back will hurt). This pain may be intense or dull and can be accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain during urination. 

    • Colon

    Ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, can lead to lower right back pain. It’s caused by chronic colon inflammation and, in addition to back pain, can trigger weight loss, fatigue, rectal pain, and diarrhea. 

    • Appendix

    Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is infected or inflamed. Patients with appendicitis may have sudden pain in the lower right side of the back, possibly with fever, vomiting, and/or nausea.

    • Gallbladder

    Pain in the right side of the back and upper right portion of the abdomen with serious indigestion can indicate gallbladder inflammation or dysfunction. This condition more commonly affects women than men. 

    • Liver

    Back pain can stem from liver issues like liver scarring, inflammation, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver abscess, liver failure, or an enlarged liver. These conditions can also cause pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen, fatigue, reduced appetite, jaundice, and nausea. 

    • Pancreas

    Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can trigger pain that spreads from the upper abdomen to the lower left area of the back. It may be described as a dull pain that worsens with fatty food consumption. 

    • Uterus and female reproductive organs

    Lower right back pain can stem from one of many female reproductive organs. Endometriosis, for example, develops when cells akin to the uterine lining are located outside of the uterus, often on the fallopian or ovarian tubes. This may lead to pelvic pain that can spread to the lower right back. 

    What Can Cause Lower Back Pain?

    Muscle or tendon injuries, degenerative spinal conditions, arthritis, and disc problems can cause lower back pain

    • Muscle and tendon injuries can lead to lower back pain. These injuries most commonly include strains, which occur when a muscle or tendon in the back is stretched. With a lower back strain, you may experience stiffness, muscle spasms, and lower back pain that resolves within 10 to 14 days. 
    • Degenerative spinal conditions like degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis can trigger chronic lower back pain. These conditions most often affect the lower spine because it bears significant impact and is more flexible than the upper or mid-spine. 
    • Osteoarthritis of the spinal joints can cause chronic pain and inflammation in the lower back. Known as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs as a result of repeated impact on the joints.
    • Disc problems, like a herniated disc, can lead to spinal nerve impingement. This can cause pain that radiates from the lower back down to the leg and foot. 

    What Causes Hip and Lower Back Pain?

    Sprains, strains, arthritis, and nerve impingement can cause hip and lower back pain. 

    When a muscle, tendon, or nerve that extends over both the hip and lower back is injured, the patient may experience hip and lower back pain at the same time. Most commonly, this is a sign of a sprain or strain, which can resolve with at-home care. However, if hip and lower back pain doesn’t go away within a few weeks, becomes worse, or starts to inhibit your day-to-day activities, seek out professional medical care. 

    What Can Cause Severe Lower Back Pain?

    Severe lower back pain can be caused by disc problems, structural spinal issues, arthritis, spinal tumors, and spondylolisthesis. These conditions can all worsen with age and overuse, leading to severe pain and even disability. 

    • Disc problems like a herniated disc can irritate the surrounding spinal nerves, inducing radiating pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling. Without prompt treatment, this common condition can cause severe lower back pain
    • Structural spinal issues like spinal stenosis and scoliosis can trigger chronic pain and, eventually, lost mobility. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal gradually narrows, while scoliosis refers to an abnormal spinal curvature. 
    • Osteoarthritis, as aforementioned, can affect the facet joints of the spine. As the cartilage that protects these joints wears down, patients may experience worsening pain and stiffness. 
    • Spinal tumors can impinge on the spinal nerves, leading to various neurological symptoms and severe lower back pain. 
    • Spondylolisthesis is a condition that develops when a vertebra slips out of its proper position, falling onto the vertebra below. This misalignment in the spine can cause nerve impingement and worsening back pain.  

    How Can You Tell if Back Pain Is Muscular or Something Else?

    You can tell if your back pain is muscular if it worsens when you move, feels like a dull ache, and is accompanied by stiffness and/or soreness. Additionally, muscular back pain typically starts to go away after resting for a few days. 

    Your back pain may not be muscular and indicate something else if you’re experiencing pain that radiates into the extremities. This, along with numbness, weakness, and tingling, indicates spinal nerve inflammation, which occurs with conditions like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. This is also known as neuropathic pain. 

    Additionally, if back pain isn’t muscular, the problem could be bone-related. This is less likely than neuropathic pain but can occur if the patient has developed bone spurs, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, or a bone infection. 

    Muscular, neuropathic, and bone pain all require different back pain treatments. If your pain doesn’t go away with rest and at-home methods, your doctor can provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

    When Does Back Pain Require Surgery?

    Many people suffer from back pain as a result of traumatic and degenerative spinal disorders. These spinal disorders, such as spinal stenosis and herniated disc, put pressure on nerves within or emanating from the spinal column. This pressure on the nerves – commonly referred to as a pinched nerve – causes pain and other problems associated with these conditions.

    When pinched nerves do not resolve with conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or medications, spinal decompression surgery is an option to consider. This procedure can relieve pressure on spinal nerves and dramatically reduce the patient’s back pain.

    In the past, spinal fusion back surgery was routinely performed in conjunction with spinal decompression surgery to stabilize the spine. It involves fusing adjacent vertebrae at the surgical site.

    Alternatives to Spinal Fusion for Back Pain

    Spinal fusion back surgery eliminates the independent motion of the fused vertebrae, potentially leading to reduced mobility. Thankfully, patients today no longer need to surrender spinal motion to benefit from decompression spinal surgery.

    Regain your mobility with Premia Spine! Contact us now

    The TOPS™ System from Premia Spine enables spinal decompression patients to maintain their full range of spinal motion. Instead of fusing adjacent vertebrae during surgery, the surgeon implants the TOPS™ System and preserves pain-free flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation at each vertebra.

    From simple conservative treatments to advanced surgical procedures, whatever the cause of your back pain, it’s comforting to know that effective treatments are available from qualified spine specialists.

    Types of Back Pain

    by admin

    Back pain is one of the most complex and confounding conditions in medicine. There are several types of back pain, typically classified by their cause. These forms of back pain may originate in the back muscles, ligaments, and spinal structures, or even as a result of problems in other parts of the body.

    Below, we’ll discuss some of the most prominent types of back pain, along with the causes of each.  

    Strains and Sprains

    Back Strains

    Muscle strains are one of the most common lower back pain causes. A strain is a type of injury that affects muscle or tendon tissue. Tendons attach muscle to bone. 

    With a strain, the affected muscle or tendon has either been pulled, torn, or twisted. This injury is usually caused by overuse, such as engaging in strenuous physical activity that your body isn’t accustomed to. For example, you may sustain a back strain if you lift more weight than your body can safely handle. 

    Symptoms of muscle strains include muscle weakness, inflammation, cramping, and spasms. You may also experience a reduced range of motion in the back. 

    A back strain can result in severe lower back pain. However, the pain will remain localized and won’t radiate down to the legs. This is in contrast to back pain caused by certain spinal conditions, which can cause pain that spreads to the extremities.

    Back Sprains

    Sprains and strains are commonly mixed up as back pain types. However, while strains involve muscle or tendon tissue, sprains involve injury to a ligament. Ligaments attach bones within a joint and provide stability to that joint. 

    With a back sprain, the ligaments in the spine are forced out of their usual position. This is typically caused by a fall, sudden trauma, or forceful twist. 

    Symptoms of ligament sprains are similar to muscle strains but take longer to heal. While a mild strain typically heals within three to six weeks, a sprain may take between six to eight weeks (or even several months) to heal. If you don’t allow a back sprain to heal properly, it can give rise to chronic back pain.

    Risk Factors For Back Strains and Sprains

    Although anyone, at any age, can sustain a back strain or sprain, you may be at a higher risk of developing one of these injuries if you:

    • Are engaging in activities that excessively curve the lower back
    • Regularly engage in sports involving pulling or pushing, like football or weightlifting
    • Have weak abdominal or back muscles
    • Have tight hamstrings
    • Are overweight or obese

    Preventing Back Strains and Sprains

    Back strains and sprains can hamper your day-to-day activities and cause significant pain. To reduce your risk of developing these common back injuries, follow these tips:

    • Reach and maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. 
    • Add exercises for lower back pain to your usual exercise regimen. These exercises focus on strengthening the abdominal muscles so that your spine is effectively supported and stabilized. 
    • Add stretches for lower back pain to your daily routine to prevent muscle tension and lost mobility. 
    • If you lift weights as part of your exercise regimen, always use proper lifting techniques. Never lift more weight than you can safely handle. 
    • Practice proper posture to keep your spine aligned. 
    • Quit smoking, which can increase your risk of the degenerative disc disease and chronic back pain. 
    • Consider how to sleep for lower back pain. Sleeping on your back is ideal to prevent strain on the spine while sleeping on your stomach can exacerbate back pain. However, placing a pillow under your stomach and pelvis can help align your spine if you’re a stubborn stomach-sleeper.
      • In a similar vein, talk to your doctor about the best mattress for back pain, as they might have suggestions. Generally, memory foam mattresses are considered the best for aligning and supporting the spine. 

    Back Pain On The Right vs. Left Sides 

    Patients who are only experiencing pain on one side of the back often wonder about the cause of their pain. Both lower left back pain and lower right back pain can be caused by injuries to the muscles or ligaments that uphold the spine. One-sided back pain may also be triggered by spinal injuries and conditions.

    However, one-sided back pain can also indicate an issue with the kidney, intestines, or reproductive organs. If this is the case, you’ll likely experience additional symptoms, such as nausea, pain while urinating, and/or fever. 

    Stress-Related Back Pain

    Stress-related back pain isn’t an official diagnosis. But, there’s no denying that stress can play a significant role in the development of back pain. 

    Your body’s natural reaction to concerning, unpleasant, or scary situations is stress. When you feel stressed out, your body releases various chemicals and triggers physical reactions to protect you. These chemicals include cortisol and adrenaline, which tends to cause an involuntary tensing of your muscles. 

    This is a primal response that’s largely unhelpful against the stressors that people experience today, such as a deadline at work or a complicated social situation. 

    Frequent stress can lead to significant tension in the back. This may lead to chronic lower back pain when left unaddressed. 

    A 2021 study published in Scientific Reports confirmed that the severity of stress is directly correlated to chronic lower back pain. Specifically, severe stress was associated with a 2.8-fold increase in the risk of chronic lower back pain. 

    Spinal Conditions

    Spinal conditions are common types of lower back pain. Many of the most common spinal conditions trigger back pain by exerting pressure on the spinal nerves. This typically leads to what’s known as a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve can cause localized pain, much like a muscle strain, but may also involve other parts of the body. 

    Pinched nerves in the lower, or lumbar region of the spine, can cause burning lower back and leg pain. Surprisingly, a pinched nerve in this region can also have far-reaching effects on the bladder, appendix, large intestine, sex organs, knees, and prostate. 

    What Are The Most Common Spinal Conditions That Cause Back Pain?

    While several different spinal conditions can trigger back pain, the most common include:

    • Herniated disc

    A herniated disc occurs when the soft interior of an intervertebral disc protrudes through a damaged portion of the disc interior. The injured disc may push on spinal nerves, causing back pain and other symptoms. 

    • Spinal stenosis

    Spinal stenosis develops if the space in the spinal canal becomes more limited. This may result from thickening spinal ligaments, a bulging or herniated disc, and osteoarthritis, among other factors. 

    • Degenerative disc disease

    Degenerative disc disease refers to symptoms of gradual, age-related spinal disc deterioration. As people grow older, the spinal discs become drier, thinner, and weaker, making them more prone to damage.  

    • Spondylolisthesis

    Spondylolisthesis occurs when spinal instability causes a vertebra to slip out of its normal position onto the vertebra beneath it. This can cause back pain and neurological symptoms. Although there are many possible causes of spondylolisthesis, the most common are degenerative spinal changes and spinal defects. 

    • Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is also known as wear and tear arthritis. This condition occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints starts to deteriorate. If osteoarthritis impacts the facet joints in the spine, it can lead to back pain. 

    • Scoliosis

    When someone has scoliosis, it means that their spine is abnormally curved. This curve may cause back pain in a few different ways. It may cause spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, and facet joint damage. The curved spine can also press on nerves, leading to neurological symptoms. 

    What Causes Lower Back Pain From Spinal Conditions?

    Several factors can lead to the development of spinal conditions that cause lower back pain. The most prevalent of these factors include age-related spinal degeneration, spinal injuries and disorders, and congenital spinal defects. To understand exactly what’s causing your lower back pain, you’ll need a diagnosis from a qualified physician. 

    How Are Spinal Conditions Treated?

    Numerous approaches exist for lower back pain relief in patients with spinal disorders. Almost always, physicians will start with a non-surgical treatment plan for six to 12 months before considering surgery. Most patients don’t need surgery to recover from the symptoms of various spinal conditions. 

    Non-Surgical Treatments For Spinal Conditions 

    Simple rest, lifestyle modifications, medications, and physical therapy are among the beneficial non-invasive approaches to alleviate different types of lower back pain.

    Surgical Treatments For Spinal Conditions

    When patients continue to experience debilitating back pain after months of non-surgical treatment, surgery may be required. Additionally, spinal specialists may recommend surgery if the patient is experiencing significant disability as a result of their condition. 

    Thankfully, even serious spinal conditions can today be effectively treated with advanced microsurgical procedures. Innovative approaches to spinal decompression surgery use endoscopic techniques for smaller incisions, less blood loss, and less tissue damage. 

    Advanced, minimally-invasive spinal procedures offer relief from conditions that have condemned previous generations to crippling pain and restricted mobility. 

    Spinal Fusion

    After spinal decompression, spinal fusion is often performed to stabilize the affected portion of the spine. The fusion process involves positioning bone graft material in between the affected vertebrae. The graft will, in the months following the procedure, permanently join the adjacent vertebrae.  

    Though decompression spinal surgery can dramatically alleviate pain and other symptoms of compressed or pinched nerves, spinal fusion eliminates the independent motion of the fused vertebrae. This limits patients’ activities and increases the risk of degeneration in the surrounding vertebrae. 

    Today, the limitations of spinal fusion have been surmounted. The TOPS™ System from Premia Spine provides a clinically proven superior alternative to spinal fusion. This non-fusion spinal implant replaces the tissues removed during decompression surgery while preserving the full, independent motion of each vertebra.

    If you’re experiencing back pain, don’t hesitate to see a qualified physician. You can achieve relief with the variety of treatment options available today. 

    Is There a Cure for Lower Back Pain?

    by admin

    Cure for Back Pain

    Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems affecting the human population. One reason this problem is so common is because back pain can have many different causes. So if you’re wondering if there’s a cure for your lower back pain, the answer depends on what is causing it. Muscle and ligament strains can cause intense back pain. Many times these strains can be cured with simple rest. Where rest alone won’t relieve the back pain, non-invasive treatments such as medications, steroidal injections, and physical therapy will often ameliorate the symptoms, if not provide an outright cure. For spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis and related disorders of the spine – common causes of lower back pain, with onset typically after the age of 35 – non-invasive treatments may also provide relief. In some cases decompression spinal surgery may be performed to relieve pressure on affected spinal nerves. During this surgery, a surgeon trims away portions of a vertebra that impinge on a nerve. (This impingement is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve.) Spinal decompression surgery can have a dramatic and immediate impact on reducing back pain, providing patients with some level of a “cure.” Traditionally spinal fusion back surgery has been performed in conjunction with spinal decompression, to stabilize the vertebrae where the operation was performed. But spinal fusion eliminates the natural flexion between the fused vertebrae, and can contribute to deterioration of adjacent vertebrae. Today spinal decompression patients have a superior alternative to spinal fusion. The TOPS System from Premia Spine preserves the natural motion of the spine, and has been proven to provide superior results to spinal fusion in clinical trials conducted worldwide.

    If you experience lower back pain, the first priority is to identify its cause. Whatever the root of the problem, you will likely have a number of options for effective treatment that will relieve the pain, and in many cases cure the condition.

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