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    What is Spondylolysis?

    by admin

    Although it’s not as common as spinal stenosis or a herniated disc, spondylolysis is near the top of the list of conditions that can cause lower back pain. This spinal condition is relatively common, affecting approximately one out of 20 people. You may also hear it referred to as a stress fracture or pars defect.  

    Learning about spondylolysis can help you better understand the factors that could be behind your back pain. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed overview of spondylolysis, including modern treatment options for this condition.  

    What is Spondylolysis?

    Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in a vertebra, which is a bone in the spinal column. The fracture occurs at the point where the vertebra connects to the vertebra above it, known as the pars interarticularis.

    The pars interarticularis is a thin piece of bone that links the upper and lower segments of the facet joints. It connects the vertebrae and facilitates the movement of the spine. 

    The fracture in the pars interarticularis can allow a vertebra to move out of its usual position and press against, or compress, the spinal cord. This condition is called spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis can cause several symptoms, with lower back pain being the most common.

    Spondylolysis isn’t rare, affecting an estimated 3% to 7% of Americans. Many of the patients who are diagnosed with spondylolysis are younger than traditional spinal patients. In fact, in one orthopedic series, spondylolysis accounted for 47% of cases of acute lower back pain in teen athletes.

    What Causes Spondylolysis?

    Spondylolysis is rooted in a weakness in the pars interarticularis. The exact cause of a weakness in the pars interarticularis isn’t known. 

    With that said, factors that can influence the weakness in the vertebrae that characterizes spondylolysis include:

    • A genetic defect

    Genetics are believed to play a role in some cases of spondylolysis. Some children are born with this spinal condition. 

    • Overuse

    Repetitive spinal trauma may also lead to spinal trauma. This commonly occurs in young athletes who frequently stress the spine. In two prospective studies, the incidence of lower back pain in athletes with spondylolysis was 72.5 % in high school rugby players, 80.5% in college football players, and 79.8% in high school football players.  

    Symptoms of Spondylolysis

    The good news is that many people with spondylolysis remain asymptomatic. Asymptomatic patients have no symptoms and are usually unaware they even have spondylolysis.

    When the spondylolysis does cause lower back pain, it usually spreads across the lower back. Spondylolysis pain often feels like a muscle strain and is generally exacerbated by exercise or vigorous activities.

    In adolescent patients, spondylolysis symptoms often appear during growth spurts. This makes the most common age of diagnosis for teenage patients with spondylolysis 15 to 16. 

    Comparing Spondylolysis to Related Conditions

    Spondylosis vs Spondylolysis

    Spondylosis and spondylolysis are often confused, and it’s easy to see why. The names of these spinal conditions are very similar. But, each is a distinct ailment with different causes and symptoms. 

    The spondylosis diagnosis is used for degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine. With this condition, the cartilage that protects the ends of the vertebrae breaks down. As a result, the space between the vertebrae shrinks. 

    Spondylosis may also involve age-related degeneration of the spinal discs and bone spurs. This condition differs from spondylolysis, which specifically involves a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis. 

    Spondylolisthesis vs Spondylolysis

    We’ve already mentioned spondylolisthesis and how it can result from spinal instability caused by spondylolysis. Similar to spondylosis, spondylolisthesis is commonly confused with spondylolysis. Additionally, spondylolysis can often cause spondylolisthesis, which further adds to the confusion. 

    Ultimately, spondylolisthesis involves vertebral misalignment due to spinal instability, while spondylolysis is a stress fracture of the pars interarticularis. 

    How is Spondylolysis Treated?

    Most cases of lumbar spondylolysis are resolved with non-surgical treatment methods. Non-surgical spondylolysis treatment often involves lifestyle modifications, medications, and physical therapy. 

    Spondylolysis is a common injury in young athletes, namely those who are involved in sports that involve spinal hyperextension. So, physicians generally recommend that spondylolysis patients take a break from sports to give the spine time to heal.  

    Simple over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can often relieve mild spondylolysis symptoms.

    Spondylolysis Physical Therapy

    Physical therapy is one of the most effective non-invasive treatment options for spondylolysis. Your physical therapist can help you regain a high quality of life and safely go back to your usual activities. 

    The goals of physical therapy for spondylolysis are to:

    • Help you manage lower back pain with methods including heat/ice therapy, electrical stimulation, and physical manipulation. 
    • Help you adopt lifestyle changes that will benefit your recovery process. These changes may include losing excess weight, starting a new exercise routine, and improving your posture. 
    • Improve and correct your body mechanics to prevent pain with day-to-day activities. 
    • Teach you stretching and strengthening exercises. These exercises can bolster the muscles that support the spine and alleviate muscle tension. 

    Spondylolysis Exercises to Avoid

    In general, patients with spondylolysis should try to avoid all high-impact activities, such as running, as well as activities that put added stress on the lower spine. Heavy lifting, football, diving, and competitive swimming can all strain the lower spine.

    With spondylolysis exercises to avoid in mind, it’s important to stay active with spondylolysis. Physical activity improves blood flow to the damaged and irritated spinal tissues, which facilitates the healing process. Additionally, gentle exercise will help you maintain muscle strength and mobility throughout your recovery. 

    Is It Possible To Prevent Spondylolysis?

    Many patients, especially young athletes, are eager to avoid spending time on the bench due to spondylolysis. While genetic factors that may make you more susceptible to spondylolysis can’t be altered, certain tactics may help you prevent this spinal condition.

    First off, consider a sports injury prevention program, which may be available from your local physical therapist. This type of program focuses on safely building muscle strength and increasing flexibility. Together, strength and flexibility can help prevent excess strain on the spine.

    Additionally, avoiding repetitive motions that strain the back can help prevent lumbar spondylolysis. Unfortunately, this may not be possible in specific sports, such as gymnastics and weightlifting. Athletes who are predisposed to spondylolysis should consider talking to their coaches about their unique needs.

    As a general rule of thumb, practicing proper posture can help avert spondylolysis and a host of other spinal conditions. Try to be mindful of your posture while you sit, stand, and lift heavy objects. Keeping your spine straight with your shoulders back and head levels allows for proper spinal alignment. 

    Treatment For Severe Spondylolysis

    In moderate to severe spondylolysis cases that don’t respond to conservative treatments, spondylolysis surgery may be required. There are a few different surgical approaches that your physician may recommend.

    Surgical Repair

    Surgery may be implemented to repair the spinal stress fracture. During this type of procedure, the surgeon will likely use a titanium screw to secure either side of the fracture together. For additional support, your surgeon may also place bone graft material in the affected area. 

    Spinal Decompression

    Patients with spondylolysis and nerve compression from spondylolisthesis may benefit from spinal decompression surgery. Spinal decompression involves removing a portion of the defective vertebra that’s compressing the spinal nerve.

    Typically, spinal fusion surgery is performed following the decompression procedure to stabilize the spine. Spinal fusion involves placing bone graft material in between the affected vertebrae. This process, over several months, permanently fuses the targeted vertebrae. 

    Unfortunately, while spinal fusion can successfully prevent spinal instability after decompression surgery, it also eradicates the independent motion of the vertebrae. This leaves patients’ mobility seriously compromised and increases the risk of degeneration in the neighboring vertebrae. 

    With these downsides (among others) in mind, many modern spondylolysis patients look for spinal fusion alternatives. Recently, an advanced alternative to spinal fusion, the TOPS™ posterior arthroplasty procedure, has gained prevalent in the United States. Having been approved and successfully used for years in Europe and other countries, the TOPS™ System provides better clinical outcomes than fusion while preserving the patient’s full range of back motion.

    Back pain is one of the world’s most common and debilitating medical conditions. As pioneers of advanced surgical treatments for spinal disorders, we at Premia Spine encourage anyone suffering from back pain, including spondylolysis pain, to learn about all the treatment options available today.

    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. 

    What Is Sciatica?

    by admin

    Everyone has heard of sciatica, but few people know what it actually is – or isn’t. Sciatica is not a spinal condition or disease, but rather a set of symptoms associated with a variety of spinal conditions. It’s characterized by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Unfortunately, sciatic episodes are painful and can diminish your quality of life.

    Below, we’ll explore the topic of sciatica, what causes it, and how it’s treated. With the range of advanced sciatica remedies available today, you can attain relief from this form of nerve pain. 

    Where Is Sciatica Pain Located?

    Sciatica pain moves along the sciatic nerve. As the longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve extends from the base of the spine through the hips and buttocks and down the legs to the tips of the feet. Considering the length of this nerve, sciatica pain can impact a large portion of the body. 

    What Are The Symptoms of Sciatica?

    If you’re struggling with undiagnosed nerve pain, you may wonder: What does sciatica feel like? 

    Symptoms of compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can include:

    • Radiating pain
    • Numbness
    • Muscle weakness
    • A tingling sensation along the length of the nerve
    • Lower back pain
    • Worsened pain with motion
    • Lost range of motion

    In severe cases, sciatica can contribute to the development of cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome involves compression of the cauda equina nerves, which may lead to lost bowel and bladder function. This complication is rare and doesn’t affect most patients with sciatica. 

    What Is The Main Cause of Sciatica?

    Several different spinal conditions can cause sciatica, including:

    • Herniated disc

    When one of the intervertebral discs in the spine becomes damaged, the soft disc interior may protrude from the damaged exterior. This is known as a herniated or ruptured disc. 

    A herniated disc in the lower back (lumbar spine) can press against the spinal nerves or leak fluid into the spinal canal. This may result in pressure on the sciatic nerve.

    • Traumatic injuries

    Traumatic injuries can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve roots, or the sciatic nerve itself. Car accidents and falls are the most common traumatic injuries that can trigger sciatica. 

    • Spondylolisthesis

    Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebrae in the spine slips out of position and rests on the vertebra beneath it, most commonly as a result of spinal degeneration in older patients. This condition can cause sciatica if it impinges on any part of the sciatic nerve.

    • Spinal stenosis

    Lumbar spinal stenosis – the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back – can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve. This condition can occur as a result of spinal degeneration, osteoarthritis, and bone spurs. 

    Does Sciatica Show Up On X-Rays?

    When a patient experiences sciatica symptoms that don’t resolve after a few weeks of conservative therapies, the physician will likely conduct imaging tests to verify that the nerve pain is resulting from sciatica.

    Key causes of sciatica including a slipped disc and bone spurs will appear on many types of imaging tests, including a CT scan, MRI scan, and x-ray. Since an x-ray is much faster and more affordable than either a CT or MRI scan, it’s likely to be ordered first. 

    What Are The Types of Sciatica?

    Sciatica can be categorized by the length of time that the symptoms persist, or by the legs (one or both) that are impacted. 

    When sciatica is categorized by the duration of the pain, it’s said to be either acute or chronic. 

    • Acute sciatica lasts for four to eight weeks in total. This type of sciatica comes about rapidly, but can be effectively managed with at-home methods like rest, heat and ice therapy, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. 
    • Sciatica is considered to be chronic when it causes pain that persists longer than eight weeks. Generally, chronic sciatica doesn’t abate with at-home treatment methods. Non-surgical methods can successfully treat chronic sciatica, but some patients will need surgery for the condition to fully resolve. 

    When sciatica is categorized by the legs that are affected, it’s said to be either alternating or bilateral. 

    • Alternating sciatica causes alternating pain in both legs. This form of sciatica typically results from degenerative problems in the sacroiliac joint, which is the joint that links the hips to the spine. 
    • Bilateral sciatica affects both legs simultaneously. This rare type of sciatica may result from disc or vertebrae degeneration at multiple levels of the spine. Bilateral sciatica can also be triggered by cauda equina syndrome, which we’ve already mentioned in this article, and other severe conditions.  

    What Happens If Sciatica Is Left Untreated?

    Left untreated, sciatica pain may worsen, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage. This could lead to chronic pain in other areas of the body. With this in mind, it’s essential for patients to receive prompt treatment for sciatica pain, even if it appears to be a mild case. 

    How Do You Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain?

    For sciatica treatment, physicians usually begin with several months of conservative treatment before considering surgery. 

    Conservative, non-surgical treatments for sciatica typically include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and low-impact exercises. Alternative methods such as massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and acupressure may also be employed.

    How To Help Sciatica Pain

    In addition to the non-invasive treatments listed above, there are several ways that you can adjust your lifestyle to enhance your sciatica recovery, including:

    • Quitting smoking. Smoking and all nicotine products are detrimental to the body’s natural healing process. 
    • Stick to a low-impact exercise regimen. Exercise will strengthen your muscles and support the health of your joints, which can relieve stress on the sciatic nerve. 
    • Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing even a few extra pounds can greatly reduce the strain on your spine, which can in turn reduce sciatica pain. 
    • Wear supportive footwear, or consider placing orthopedic inserts in your shoes. 
    • If your occupation requires many hours of sitting in a chair, ensure that your chair provides excellent back support. 

    In severe cases of sciatica involving unrelenting and/or debilitating symptoms, non-invasive treatments and lifestyle adjustments may fail to provide relief. In these cases, surgery for sciatica, such as a discectomy or foraminotomy, may be required. 

    Spinal decompression surgery relieves the pressure on the sciatic nerve and is often paired with spine fusion surgery to stabilize the spine. During fusion, bone graft material is placed in between the affected vertebrae, causing them to slowly fuse into a single bone.

    Unfortunately, spinal fusion eliminates the independent mobility of the fused vertebrae. This limits patients’ mobility after the procedure while requiring an extensive recovery process. 

    How Long Does It Take For Sciatica To Go Away?

    Cases of acute sciatica typically resolve within four to six weeks with rest and at-home remedies. However, chronic sciatica can take much longer to fully resolve, depending on its cause. 

    If chronic sciatica doesn’t require surgery, it may go away within four to twelve weeks of rest and rehabilitation. For sciatica cases that do require surgery, the recovery process after the operation may last for four to six weeks. But, if spinal fusion is performed, the patient may not fully heal for six months to a year. 

    What Is The Fastest Way To Cure Sciatica?

    Given that spinal fusion greatly prolongs the sciatica recovery process, many patients seek out other options. Thankfully, there’s a spinal fusion alternative that’s proven to improve clinical outcomes, shorten the recovery process, and preserve the patient’s natural range of motion in the individual vertebrae: the TOPS Posterior Arthroplasty procedure.

    TOPS is one of the exciting advances bringing new hope to patients with moderate to severe spinal conditions who aren’t responding to conservative treatments. Premia Spine, the creator of the TOPS System, is at the forefront of advanced surgical treatments for spinal disorders.

    We encourage anyone with lower back pain and sciatica symptoms to investigate all their treatment options before undergoing spinal fusion. With the range of cutting-edge therapies available today, you can achieve sciatica relief without the limitations and drawbacks associated with fusion. 

    What is Lumbar Radiculopathy?

    by admin

    The human body contains an extensive system of nerves that facilitate communication between the cells. Nerves send and receive messages throughout the body. Without them, we wouldn’t have basic human functions, like movement, balance, and sleep, or sensations, like touch. 

    Unfortunately, just like the rest of the human body, nerves are susceptible to damage. Radiculopathy is one type of nerve damage that can severely impact one’s mobility and quality of life. 

    In this article, we’re going to discuss a specific form of this nerve condition: lumbar radiculopathy. 

    What is Lumbar Radiculopathy?

    The vertebrae are the bones of the spine. An intervertebral disc is located in between each vertebra and acts as a cushion by absorbing impact.

    If the vertebrae or the discs between them impinge on a nerve root in the spinal column, chronic nerve injuries may result. Radiculopathy is the general term for these injuries.

    Radiculopathy most commonly occurs in the lower, or lumbar, region of the spine. This condition has been termed lumbar radiculopathy. Though less common, radiculopathy may also occur in the neck, or cervical region of the spine, which is known as cervical radiculopathy.

    Symptoms of Lumbar Radiculopathy

    Common symptoms of radiculopathy include radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. In some cases, a loss of motor function can result from lumbar radiculopathy. These symptoms may be felt all the way to the tips of the fingers or toes, even though the nerve injury is at the base of the spine. 

    Radiculopathy symptoms felt in the arms and hands are usually caused by cervical radiculopathy, while those in the back of the leg and the foot usually result from lumbar radiculopathy. The location of the nerve compression determines where radiculopathy symptoms are felt. 

    The severity of lumbar radiculopathy symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Some patients with radiculopathy experience severe, debilitating symptoms that significantly impact their day-to-day activities. 

    Causes of Lumbar Radiculopathy

    There are several possible causes for lumbar radiculopathy, including:

    • Degenerative disc disease

    Degenerative disc disease is a normal part of the aging process. It occurs when the intervertebral discs weaken and dry out over time. As the discs become damaged, the nerves of the spine may become irritated, leading to radiculopathy symptoms. 

    • Repetitive motions involving the spine

    Repetitive and high-impact motions can contribute to lumbar radiculopathy. This is more common among people with occupations that require repetitive motions or heavy lifting.

    • Being overweight

    Being overweight or in poor physical health can also contribute to radiculopathy. This is because added body weight puts extra stress on the nerves, which can lead to nerve damage. 

    • Diabetes

    Diabetes is associated with heightened blood glucose levels. This can cause the development of deposits within the blood vessels that decrease circulation throughout the body. As a result, high blood sugar can lead to nerve damage. 

    • Genetics

    A genetic predisposition can also increase one’s risk of developing spinal radiculopathy.

    • Spinal conditions

    Various spinal conditions can cause nerve impingement and lead to radiculopathy. Examples of these conditions include herniated disc, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis. 

    What Is The Difference Between Sciatica and Lumbar Radiculopathy?

    Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy. In fact, it’s the most prevalent type of radiculopathy. It refers to pain that radiates throughout the sciatic nerve, meaning that it starts in the lower back and moves through the buttocks, down the legs, and to the feet.  

    The terms lumbar radiculopathy and sciatica are commonly used interchangeably. This is because nerve impingement in the lumbar spine typically involves the sciatic nerve. After all, the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.  

    Can Lumbar Radiculopathy Get Worse?

    Lumbar radiculopathy has the potential to get worse. In some patients, the pain may come and go. But, in others, radiculopathy symptoms are persistent and gradually become worse over time. 

    If lumbar radiculopathy isn’t promptly addressed, various factors can exacerbate the condition by causing additional nerve damage. These factors include:

    • Poor posture

    Poor posture increases the amount of stress placed on the spinal nerves. In patients who lead a sedentary lifestyle, sitting at a desk with poor posture for hours on end may significantly worsen radiculopathy symptoms. 

    • Repetitive movements

    Repeatedly twisting, bending, and straining the spine can further irritate the affected nerves, leading to worsened radiculopathy symptoms. 

    • High-impact activities

    Weight-bearing physical activities can cause additional damage to the spinal nerves. Examples of these activities include football, wrestling, weightlifting, soccer, and hockey. 

    How Do You Treat Lumbar Radiculopathy?

    Lumbar radiculopathy treatment methods may be non-surgical or surgical. Doctors begin with non-surgical treatment, and if the patient’s symptoms don’t improve after several months, consider surgery. 

    Non-Surgical Lumbar Radiculopathy Treatment

    Physical therapy, medication, steroid injections, and relaxation are often prescribed successfully to treat lumbar radiculopathy. 

    • Physical therapy

    Physical therapy is often recommended for lumbar radiculopathy. It involves exercises and therapies designed to improve spinal stability and alignment. This can help create more space for the spinal nerve roots. 

    • Medication

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can help relieve inflammation and pain caused by lumbar radiculopathy. This can help make radiculopathy symptoms more manageable. However, these medications generally aren’t recommended for long-term use. 

    • Epidural steroid injections

    Epidural steroid injections reduce the body’s inflammatory response at the injection site. For lumbar radiculopathy, this can help alleviate inflammation in the spinal nerves. 

    Doctors generally advise patients to receive no more than three to four epidural steroid injections per year. Since steroid injections hamper the immune system response, they can cause tissue damage when used in excess. 

    • Rest and relaxation

    Rest and relaxation are recommended for patients with lumbar radiculopathy to give the spinal nerves time to heal. 

    Surgical Lumbar Radiculopathy Treatment

    When non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief for radiculopathy of the lumbar region, surgical methods may be recommended. Generally, physicians don’t recommend surgery for lumbar radiculopathy unless the patient has undergone at least six months of conservative treatment. 

    Spinal decompression surgery is the main surgical lumbar radiculopathy treatment. This type of spine surgery involves removing spinal tissues to alleviate pressure on the affected nerves. Laminectomy, laminotomy, laminoplasty, foraminotomy, and discectomy are all common methods of spinal decompression. 

    Spinal Fusion and Spinal Decompression Surgery For Radiculopathy

    Since spinal decompression surgery involves removing tissues from the spine, it can lead to spinal instability. To prevent this, spinal decompression surgery is often combined with spinal fusion back surgery. This combination of procedures has been a common treatment modality for lumbar radiculopathy patients who don’t respond to conservative treatments.

    Spinal fusion permanently joins the affected vertebrae using bone graft material. This prevents all motion in the fused spinal segment. Unfortunately, while this counters instability, it also significantly decreases the patient’s range of motion. 

    Additionally, fusing two spinal vertebrae forces the adjacent vertebrae to bear additional impact with day-to-day motions. The added impact can cause the adjacent spinal segments to deteriorate at a quicker rate, potentially leading to back pain, stiffness, and neurological symptoms. This complication of spinal fusion is known as adjacent segment disease or ASD. 

    Alternative Options For Lumbar Radiculopathy Patients

    The TOPS™ (Total Posterior Spine) System is a new advancement in spinal surgery that can be used as an alternative to spinal fusion. Unlike fusion, the TOPS™ System preserves the full natural range of motion of the individual vertebrae, which is lost when the bones are fused.

    This spinal implant has also been shown to provide superior outcomes in clinical studies conducted across the globe. With TOPS™, lumbar radiculopathy patients can attain lasting relief for nerve pain without having to worry about complications from spinal fusion. 

    Advances like TOPS™ give individuals with back problems more options for effective treatments. So, if you’re suffering from persistent radiculopathy pain, speak with a spine specialist about the complete range of treatment solutions available today. 

    What is Lumbar Spinal Decompression?

    by admin

    Lower back pain has long been a prevalent health concern around the world. In 2017, the prevalence of lower back pain was estimated to be approximately 7.5% of the world’s population. This totals about 577 million people.

    There are numerous causes of lower back pain, as well as countless treatments that can help relieve it. Lumbar spinal decompression is one treatment strategy for alleviating lower back pain caused by a pinched nerve. 

    This article will discuss lumbar spinal decompression, when it’s implemented, and what patients can expect from the procedure. 

    Why is Lower Back Pain So Common?

    Imagine if the branches of a tree were as large at the top as they are at the bottom. Now, imagine that a heavy load is placed on the ends of the very highest branches. This would put an enormous amount of stress on the lower portion of the tree trunk.

    This is comparable to what we experience as humans with our spinal columns. The human spinal column is like the trunk of a tree, but we’re as large on the top of the trunk as we are at the bottom. This puts a high amount of stress on the lower back, which is also called the lumbar region of the spine.  

    The strain of lifting objects and twisting the spine over the course of a lifetime is exacerbated by degenerative spinal changes that occur with age. So, it’s not surprising that most of the back problems that bring patients to spinal specialists are centered in the lower, or lumbar, region of the spine.

    Lumbar Spine Disorders

    The stresses discussed above, along with disease and/or injury, can result in a host of spinal disorders. Bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis are among the most common.

    • Bulging disc

    A bulging disc is a spinal disorder that occurs when the exterior of an intervertebral disc weakens, typically from the natural aging process. This can cause the disc to bulge out into one side of the spinal canal. 

    • Herniated disc

    A herniated disc is essentially one step further than a bulging disc. It occurs when the soft interior of the disc protrudes out through a crack in the weakened disc exterior. 

    • Spinal stenosis

    Spinal stenosis can result from a bulging or herniated disc, as well as a range of other factors. It’s a spinal condition characterized by an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal.

    Reduced space in the spinal canal can place stress on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord. But, decompression for lumbar spinal stenosis can effectively alleviate this stress. 

    • Spondylolisthesis

    Spondylolisthesis is a condition that develops when one of the vertebrae is unstable and slips out of its regular position. The displaced vertebra settles on the vertebra beneath it. 

    These disorders can place unnatural pressure on the nerves that emanate from the spinal column. This may cause pain, restricted mobility, and other symptoms of a pinched nerve.

    What is a Lumbar Decompression Surgery?

    Spinal decompression is a method of easing pressure on impinged spinal nerves. It can be performed either non-surgically or surgically. Lumbar spine decompression simply refers to decompression procedures performed on the lower portion of the spine.

    The surgical solution for a lumbar pinched nerve involves removing a small amount of tissue from vertebrae in the lumbar region. The surgeon will remove the tissue that’s impinging, or putting pressure, on a nerve. This process is referred to as lumbar spinal decompression surgery.

    How is Lumbar Decompression Surgery Performed?

    There are various types of lumbar decompression surgery that may be implemented for different spinal disorders. The most common forms of surgical lumbar decompression include:

    Laminectomy and Laminotomy

    Laminectomy and laminotomy are two surgical methods of lumbar decompression that involve the lamina. The lamina acts like the roof of the spinal canal and protects the spinal cord. 

    • In a laminectomy, the surgeon removes the majority of the lamina at the affected spinal segment. 
    • In laminotomy, the surgeon only removes a small portion of the lamina. 

    Laminoplasty

    Laminoplasty is a procedure that involves making two cuts in the lamina so that it swings outward, like a door. After creating a hinge with the lamina of the affected vertebra, the spinal surgeon will position small bone wedges to keep the “door” from closing. Commonly referred to as open-door laminoplasty, this procedure can effectively alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves without removing the lamina. 

    Foraminotomy

    In foraminotomy, the surgeon creates more space around the area where nerve roots exit the spinal canal. This area is known as the intervertebral foramen. It acts as a passageway, linking the spinal canal to the periphery. 

    By opening up the intervertebral foramen in foraminotomy, the spinal surgeon can alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves. 

    Discectomy

    Discectomy is a spinal decompression procedure that involves removing damaged intervertebral disc tissue. The spinal surgeon may remove some or all of the damaged disc, depending on the patient’s needs.

    Lumbar Decompression Surgery With Spinal Fusion

    Removing tissue in lumbar decompression surgery can lead to spinal instability. So, historically, spinal fusion back surgery has been performed in conjunction with lumbar decompression surgery to stabilize the spine. 

    In spinal fusion, the surgeon places bone graft material in between the affected vertebrae. As weeks and months pass after the procedure, the vertebrae will fuse, forming a singular bone. By completely preventing motion in this segment, fusion effectively prevents instability following spinal decompression surgery.  

    Unfortunately, lumbar decompression and fusion can have certain negative effects on the body, including:

    • Reduced range of motion

    The key downside of spinal fusion is that it prevents all motion in the fused segment. This eliminates the patient’s ability to flex, twist, and bend the spine normally. As a result, patients may no longer be able to partake in their favorite sports and activities after spinal fusion surgery. 

    • Damage to adjacent vertebrae

    The spinal segments that are adjacent to the fused vertebrae must undergo additional stress to compensate for the fusion. This can lead to a complication known as adjacent segment disease (ASD), with which the adjacent vertebrae deteriorate at a more rapid rate. ASD can lead to lower back pain, radiating pain, difficulty walking or standing, and neurological symptoms. 

    Are Alternatives To Spinal Fusion Available?

    Today, the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Spine) System provides an alternative to spinal fusion that preserves the spine’s natural full range of motion. This advanced spinal implant has been shown to provide better outcomes than fusion in clinical studies performed around the world. 

    The TOPS™ System provides an important additional treatment option for individuals with moderate to severe pinched nerve symptoms. It can provide a major improvement in lower back pain for patients who don’t respond to non-surgical lumbar spinal decompression therapy.

    How Long Does It Take to Recover From Lumbar Decompression Surgery?

    The recovery period for lumbar decompression surgery can vary depending on the exact procedure and whether or not spinal fusion is performed. However, patients can generally expect to wait four to six weeks before reaching their expected degree of mobility and returning to work. 

    Spinal fusion prolongs the recovery process for lumbar decompression surgery. It can take up to a year to fully recover from fusion. With this in mind, the TOPS™ System can significantly reduce the lumbar decompression surgery recovery time, allowing patients to return to physical activity much sooner.

    Is Lumbar Decompression Surgery Serious?

    Lumbar decompression surgery is an invasive procedure. So, as with any surgical procedure, it comes with certain risks.

    With that said, lumbar decompression is widely performed and considered safe. Advancements in medical technology have even made minimally-invasive lumbar decompression surgery possible. This allows for greater safety and a lower risk of complications. 

    If you have symptoms of a pinched nerve, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about the complete scope of treatment options available to you. 

    Causes of Back Pain in Women

    by admin

    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.

    What Causes Back Pain in Females?

    Here, we’ve listed what can cause lower back pain in a woman. 

    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 in 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 back pain. 

    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 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 in 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.

    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.

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

    What Is Back Strain? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment of Back Strains

    by admin

    What is back strain?

    Commonly played down, a back strain can be an extremely painful and demobilizing injury which could require strong painkillers and possible treatment. 

    Hearing “It’s just a back strain” may not be very comforting when you’re experiencing severe back pain, and while back strain may sound like a minimal back injury, it can cause you a great deal of discomfort. A back strain can result in sleepless nights, back spasms that can cause severe lower back pain and in some cases, immobility. 

    Many people with back strains are forced to go to the emergency room for relief and they are not to be taken lightly. 

    What is a back strain?

    It can be reassuring to understand what a back strain actually is and what part of the body is damaged to help understand potential treatment options and how to take care of your back in the future. 

    When the muscles or ligaments in the lower back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles will likely become inflamed. That back inflammation leads to back spasms that can cause your severe back pain and immobility.

    What are the symptoms of a back strain?

    Symptoms of back strain may range from a mild ache to sudden, debilitating pain often localized in the lower back. The pain of a back strain is likely to be located in the low back, and not radiate down your leg (as with sciatica.) Your back may be sore to the touch, pain comes on suddenly and strongly, you may have those muscle spasms in your lower back, and you might find standing or walking to be more uncomfortable than resting.

    A summary of the potential symptoms caused by a back strain:

    • Pain and demobilizing stiffness in the back
    • Pain which spreads to the buttocks and the top of the legs, often in the back of the thigh. 
    • Pain which increases when a person bends over, stretches, coughs or sneezes. 

    What causes a back strain?

    “How did this happen to me?” is likely the next question on your mind. Back strains are often the result of a movement or movements that put undue stress on the lower back. Motions like lifting a heavy object, lifting multiple heavy objects (such as with landscaping using large rocks or bricks,) lifting and twisting, a sudden and single twisting motion (like your last golf tee-off of the day,) or a fall are just some of the movements that can cause back strain.

    Most lower back pain episodes are caused by damage to the muscles and/ or ligaments in the lower part of the back. When you suffer from back strain, you may have one or both of the following:

    • A muscle strain, caused when a muscle is overstretched or torn, resulting in damage caused to the muscle fibers (also called a pulled muscle).
    • A lumbar sprain, caused when ligaments – the tough fibrous tissues connecting the muscles to the bones and joints — are stretched too far or torn.

    Strain and sprain are often used interchangeably, since the treatment and prognosis for both of these are the same. So one is not worse than the other, although the amount of pain you’re experiencing may make you think that what you have is indeed the more severe of the two. Especially since you cannot see inside your back, your imagination may conclude that you have something much worse than a back strain or sprain. Patients experiencing pain can often jump to dramatic conclusions and envision difficult treatments ahead.

    Fortunately, there are many simple treatments and lifestyle changes which may help. 

    How can a back strain be treated?

    With a mixture of painkillers and avoiding strenuous activities a person can manage the pain in their back and significantly reduce the sharp pangs of pain that make a back strain almost unbearable. 

    However, a person may still experience lower levels of pain, or flare-up of pain further down the line, lasting for weeks, or even months, depending on how severe the strain was. 

    To alleviate this pain, self-care is a must to help those stretched or torn muscles, ligaments heal fully. The average recovery time of a back strain is around three-to-four weeks but this can of course vary depending on a person’s health, age, or general fitness levels. 

    To help speed up this recovery, we recommended the following treatment which you can apply yourself, without medical consultation. 

    • Use an ice pack on your back to ease pain and reduce swelling as soon as the strain occurs. You can do this for 20-30 minutes and repeat every 3-4 hours until the pain decreases.
    • After 3-4 days if you are experiencing pain, you may also use a heat pack but this is only advised once the swelling has gone down. A hot bath is also recommended.
    • Take Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, examples of these are; Advil, Aleve and Motrin. However, it is important to use these drugs sparingly as there may be some side effects involved.
    • Try physical therapy to keep active and regain strength in your back. This can maintain muscle tone and help build your abdominal and lower back muscles.
    • Avoid bed rest and try to stick to a normal sleeping pattern as lying or sitting down for long periods of time reduces blood circulation in your back, slowing the healing process.
    • Do not turn down medical support, your doctor or physical therapist is a trained professional, so heed their advice even if staying in bed seems like the easier option.

    How to avoid back strains in the future?

    There are a number of simple measures a person can take to help prevent back strains in the future. 

    • Exercise your back muscles and stretch them regularly as poor fitness and physical conditioning are some of the main causes of back strains.
    • Although exercise is highly recommended it is advised to know your limits. If you have been exercising regularly, or stepping up your workout plan and suddenly feel pain in your back then take a few days off and rest.
    • If you feel any pain in your back during an activity then immediately stop. Do not try to persevere as this could stretch or tear the muscles or ligaments further.
    • Focus on your sleeping positions and avoid lying on your stomach, instead of sleeping on your back, or side. If it helps you could also place a pillow beneath your legs for support. 
    • Always bend at the knees when lifting heavy objects.
    • Maintain a healthy diet to try and keep your weight at a healthy level. 
    • Focus on your posture and avoid slouching, or hunching while working. 

    We hope this article has helped to answer any questions you may have had about back strains and how to prevent such issues in the future.

    What is a Lumbar Laminectomy?

    by admin

    Medical terminology doesn’t go out of its way to be complicated or hard to understand. It’s simply that the language has to be very precise, and that much of it comes from Latin. Hence, it can be difficult to decipher some med-speak without a little help. Take the term “lumbar laminectomy,” a fairly common surgical procedure that can help alleviate the pain, mobility limitations, and other symptoms that often accompany medical conditions of the lower spine. Indeed, the word “lumbar” refers to the lower spine. The lumber portion of the spine comprises the lowest five vertebrae of the spinal column, which bear the designation L1 through L5 – “L” standing for lumbar.

    Every vertebra in the spinal column is covered in a bony sheath called the lamina, which helps protect

    the nerves that run through the spinal column. But sometimes, due to injury, disease, degenerative changes, or other causes, the lamina can put pressure on nerves emanating from the spinal column, a condition referred to as a pinched nerve. Problems within the vertebrae, such as an unnatural narrowing of the spinal canal, a condition called spinal stenosis, can also result in pinched nerves.

    When surgery is performed to relieve pressure on a pinched spinal nerve, a procedure called spinal decompression, it requires cutting away the portion of the lamina that is impinging on a nerve or to gain access to the interior of the vertebrae to address a condition such as spinal stenosis. In medicine, the suffix “ectomy” refers to excision or removal. Thus, cutting away a portion of the lamina is a procedure called a laminectomy. So a lumbar laminectomy is an operation in which a portion of the lamina on one of the first five vertebrae is trimmed away. A lumbar laminectomy can achieve dramatic results in alleviating the symptoms of pinched nerves. Traditionally, spinal fusion back surgery was performed in concert with a laminectomy to stabilize the spine at the point of the operation. Now lumbar laminectomy patients have an alternative that provides better outcomes than spinal fusion surgery while preserving the full range of the spine’s motion: The TOPS (Total Posterior Spine) System procedure. If you’re a candidate for a lumbar laminectomy or other spinal decompression procedure, make sure you understand all your treatment options.

    What is a Laminectomy 

    Lumbar Laminectomy is a spinal surgery involving the removal of the vertebral bone to alleviate symptoms of spinal stenosis. Laminectomy surgery is relatively common for major surgery. Its main function is to reduce spinal pressure on the cord and nerve roots when they are being unnaturally restricted. This surgery is for those suffering from various ailments, including those sustained from past injuries, herniated disks, spinal stenosis, and tumors. While there are alternative methods to try before getting to this point, such as physical therapy, medication, and even injections, some may find this is the only path to relief.

    While determining what is a laminectomy, we should deconstruct the name. Lamina is the scientific name for the vertebral bone. This surgery, Lumbar Laminectomy, is the process of removing the vertebral bone to lift pressure surrounding the spinal canal. Pressure is created by things like impacted bone injury, bone overgrowth, or growing tumors. A decompressive laminectomy increases available space and therefore alleviates any pain sufferers may be experiencing. While the surgery itself is great, so are the results. 

    What is Spinal Stenosis

    If you are considering spinal laminectomy you may likely be suffering from spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is one of the most common spinal ailments. Since stenosis means narrowing or restricting, this condition refers to the unnatural narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition often develops for unknown reasons but can be caused by an overgrowth of either bone or tissue. Some cases may be hereditary, while others arise from an unhealthy lifestyle. 

    Options Before Surgery

    Everyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle, including those suffering from spinal stenosis or other spine stemming pain. Simple solutions like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy BMI can all reduce pain and symptoms. While these are idealistic options, they also are not the solution for everyone. It is possible that someone’s back pain is so great they are limited in the forms of exercise they can partake in.

    Physical therapy is another noninvasive option that patients can try before getting a lumbar laminectomy surgery. Because most patients suffer from pain in their back and legs, it can be helpful to have a physical therapist to assist in teaching the body how to move through these debilitating pains in a way that can offer some relief. Physical therapy assigned exercises to have the ability to release pressure similar to surgery, though the effects are often not as long-lasting. 

    Medication is also available to those suffering from inescapable pain. Some medications offered can help with both pain and inflammation so that those suffering from spinal stenosis are able to manage their symptoms throughout their day.

    While these solutions can help manage and relieve pain, ultimately, they do not offer more stability to a destabilized spine, nor do they permanently create space in the spine where the pressure afflicts. In cases of long-term relief, most find that surgery is necessary to moving forward into a pain-free life.

    Laminectomy Surgery

    In deciding if surgery is right for you, it helps to know exactly what is to be expected during the procedure. A doctor uses general anesthesia to put the patient under for the duration of the surgery. In the process of the surgery, the surgeon makes a small cut into the back, right over the affected area. They then enter through this cut with small tools to lift the muscle away from the spinal column. The lamina is then removed to create space in the narrowed spinal canal.  In the case of a herniated disk, the doctor can then remove the parts of the disk that have herniated. 

    Traditionally after this, the vertebrae would be fused to create stability in the spine to supplement the removed lamina. This is done with either bone graphs, screws, or metal rods. While efficient in rendering the spine functional post-operation, it does create limited mobility that can impede some physical activities.

    How to Prepare for Laminectomy Surgery

    Laminectomy Surgery is major surgery. Many are intimidated by spinal surgery because it is such a crucial part of our body and people often have a fear of how their life changes after. Here is how to prepare for optimal recovery.

    • Consider your new mobility while you recover. With a limited range of motion, you should consider buying a pair of slip-on shoes to avoid bending down and straining.
    • Ensure frequently used items are in easy-to-access spots. This may look like lowering things from high shelves as well as heightening objects that previously required bending over to reach them. Remember, this is temporary.  Once healed you should be able to reach all these things again without any pain or discomfort. 
    • Do some meal prepping. The less work you have to do while recovering the quicker you heal. This also means you can rely less on others and be more self-sufficient in a time when you may feel dependent on others.
    • Finally, on the day of the surgery, make sure you fast before going in. Like most surgeries that require general anesthesia, you are advised to stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before. Some water is allowed the morning of the surgery, but a full stomach can pose complications once you are under.

    Laminectomy Recovery

    Once you wake from the surgery your care team checks to ensure everything has gone smoothly and your body has responded well to the spinal laminectomy surgery. While a short hospital stay is typical, some people are released the same day. This means that no matter the case, the comforts of home are not too far away.

    Upon returning home, rest! Though it is healing in the long run, your body has just sustained a major injury and needs time and care to recover. Give yourself grace and let people help with things like meals and keeping the house running. Letting yourself rest at this time is crucial for long-term recovery.

    It is recommended that you do not work for the first few weeks following a decompressive laminectomy. Those with less physically demanding jobs return to work sooner than those with more labor-intensive jobs. If you have a spinal fusion laminectomy recovery takes longer.

    How to Make Spinal Surgery Less Traumatic

    The results of lumbar laminectomy, while impressive, may take a while to work. There are records of patients taking up to a full year to complete their laminectomy recovery. Those who do go through with the surgery are also sometimes recommended physical therapy as a part of their recovery process.  This leads to a long and involved path back to normalcy.

    If you are looking for a way to make your laminectomy surgery and recovery less traumatic, consider a spinal implant. TOPS system uses an implant after decompression is completed to prevent the necessity for spinal fusion. Where traditionally vertebrae are fused after laminectomy surgery, TOPS implants hold the space where the vertebrae were removed, combining the relief of the surgery with all the mobility and freedom you had before. 

    Patients who have had a TOPS System implant report faster and easier laminectomy recoveries than those who received traditional spinal fusions. Because the spine is the foundation of the human body it is important you take the path offering the greatest recovery and mobility post-surgery. Does this look like a spine that has been fused together, or upgraded with an implant?

    Life After Laminectomy

    While it is a big decision to make, ultimately it comes down to regaining your life. Those who have spinal laminectomy are choosing a life free of debilitating pain and getting back the body they once knew. Lumbar laminectomy patients are often happier and healthier, having chosen the care right for them.

    Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

    by User_01 Sortino Marketing

    It’s common for office and remote workers to suffer from back pain, and some of them even consider it an inevitable part of their lives. Most people think those problems are just bad posture issues and try to solve them with homemade methods such as using ergonomic chairs or applying ice, but what if the problem is more serious than having a bad posture?

    If that was the case, you’d be letting your back problems get worse each day and allowing many other back conditions and illnesses to appear. One of those conditions is lumbar spinal stenosis, which narrows the space within your spinal cord, impeding it and the adjacent nerves to work as they should.  

    You must take care of this issue as soon as you notice it, so we are here to provide you with all the information you need to know about the symptoms and available treatments of this condition. Your priority must be your safety, so make sure to learn as much as you can about lumbar spinal stenosis and walking problems!

    What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis? 

    As we mentioned before, when you talk about lumbar spinal stenosis, you are talking about the compression or narrowing of the space within your spinal cord. However, you must be careful regarding this matter since many things can cause that condition to happen.

    To understand the problem and thus how to treat it, you need to understand what produces it, so here is a list of the most common causes of lumbar spinal stenosis:

    Spinal Injuries

    It’s easy to notice lumbar spinal stenosis if it’s originated from spinal injuries since those problems don’t come from any indirect issue or congenital condition. Direct accidents such as car crashes or any heavy hit you receive that can dislocate your bones, break them, or cause extreme inflammation can damage your spinal canal, putting a lot of pressure on your spinal nerves. 

    Thickened Ligaments

    Your ligaments are an essential part of your body since they hold your bones together, including, logically, your spinal cord. However, issues such as arthritis can cause your ligaments to thicken and consequently bulge into space within your spinal canal. This issue doesn’t only produce lumbar spinal stenosis but also major walking problems if not treated on time. 

    Bone Overgrowth 

    If you are having a case of bone spurs and overgrowth of the bones within your spinal cord, you are prone to develop lumbar spinal stenosis. The name of this issue is osteoarthritis, also known as the wear and tear condition, which breaks down the protective covering of your joints and makes your bones rubbing against each other and creating bone spurs. 

    Tumors 

    Tumors, whether if cancerous or benign, can form within the space in your spinal cord. The abnormal growth of the tumors can limit the space for your nerves and spinal cord, causing this spinal stenosis to happen. You should make a doctor’s appointment as soon as you feel any unusual sensation or pain in the back since it’s not easy to detect those tumors without realizing the corresponding tests. 

    What Are the Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis? 

    The best way to prevent major issues that can be detrimental to your health is to detect their symptoms on time and treat them properly. However, it’s not that easy to recognize which illness or condition the symptoms correspond to since many diseases share the same symptoms, so you have to notice more than one.

    Lumbar spinal stenosis is a dangerous matter that you have to identify as soon as you can, so here is a list of the primary symptoms to help you check if you have any of them:

    • Lower back pain.
    • Neck pain.
    • Numbness in your legs. 
    • Pain in your legs after standing for long periods. 
    • Feet weakness. 
    • Bladder or bowels inconsistencies. 
    • Pain in your buttocks and legs is known as sciatica. 
    • Leg cramping. 
    • Burning sensation in your lower back

    There are two more types of spinal stenosis: cervical and thoracic spinal stenosis. Both of them have different symptoms that help you notice them. Since all three diseases are directly related and can affect one another, here are the symptoms of thoracic and cervical spinal stenosis:

    Thoracic Spinal Stenosis

    • Tingling, weakness, numbing, or pain in your stomach 
    • Balance problems. 

    Cervical Spinal Stenosis

    • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs, arms, or hands. 
    • Neck Pain.
    • Bladder or bowel dysfunction. 
    • Balance problems. 

    What Is the Best Treatment for Spinal Stenosis?

    When suffering from this condition, you can ask yourself: what’s the best treatment for spinal stenosis? Or what’s the latest treatment to solve it? Our primary condition is your safety, so you can read this article as an objective information page to help you ease your pain and eliminate your back problems.

    The most effective solution to spinal stenosis is spinal surgery since it can address all the issues occurring within the space of your spinal cord and even related problems that you didn’t consider when asking for surgery. Look at the best and latest treatments for spinal stenosis:

    Medications: Such as opioids, anti-depressants to reduce chronic pain, and pain relievers can help you to ease the pain and sensations caused by this condition. 

    Physical Therapy: Since it helps you stay active. Commonly, spinal stenosis patients tend to be less active and weak to the pain and lack of mobility, but if you ask your doctor to help you arrange physical therapy, you can maintain and improve your flexibility, endurance, and balance. 

    Applying heat/Cold: This is one of the most common alternatives for people who want to try self-help remedies. Applying heat to the areas where you feel the most pain relaxes your muscles and helps your broken joints while improving your blood flow. If the heat doesn’t work, try ice, which significantly alleviates inflammations, tenderness, and swelling. 

    Decompression Procedure:  This procedure is only available for patients who have lumbar spinal stenosis caused by thickened ligaments. Doctors don’t need to apply anesthesia nor stitches to complete this procedure, since it consists of making a little incision to remove the thickened parts of the ligaments to make more space for the spinal cord, decompressing nerve roots. 

    Steroids Injections: It’s not recommended that you apply this method very often, since you can only use it to ease inflammation and pain for a limited time. The treatment consists of injecting corticosteroids in the area where the nerve roots are to reduce inflammation and pain, but that’s its only effect and it cannot eliminate spinal stenosis by itself. 

    Surgery: Patients ask for surgery when they can’t stand the pain anymore, and the disease is becoming a setback to realize daily activities. This method is delicate and has to be done very carefully, but it’s highly effective to free yourself from spinal stenosis. There are many surgeries regarding this matter, so here is the primary one:

    • Cervical Laminoplasty: This process is for patients suffering from cervical spinal stenosis, and it’s to remove the pressure on the neck part of your spinal cord. To do that, surgeons make an incision in the back of your neck and liberate space from the spinal canal by creating a hinge on the lamina.
    • Laminotomy: Laminotomy is performed in other parts of your spinal cord, differing from cervical laminoplasty. This surgery is simple in theory since the surgeons just have to make an incision that is of the size needed to relieve enough pressure from the spinal cord.

    Conclusion

    Your spinal cord is an essential part of your body and you have to take special care of it since if damaged, it can be the reason why you suffer from highly dangerous conditions and illnesses in the future. If you feel or notice any of the symptoms you read in this article, get a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible to make sure the problem doesn’t progress, and you can treat it on time. 

    Reuters reports on Premia Spine’s TOPS System and farmer Yehuda Schwartz

    by admin