Posts Tagged sciatica
SPINE PAIN, SCIATICA and LASER TREATMENT review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Kingwood, Beaumont, Memorial City, TMC (Texas Medical Center)
There is much discussion about the use of the laser for treatment of pain in the spine, or for treatment of pain radiating down the leg, known as sciatica. In order to understand more about this, it is necessary to have a better understanding of what is causing the pain, and what the laser actually does.
The laser is a device which delivers a high amount of focused energy into a small spot. The word LASER stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” When used in the operating room, the laser allows the surgeon the ability to cut or vaporize tissue.
Pain in the lower back, and pain traveling down the lower extremities, is a very common problem facing society. The daily impact which the spine encounters as it keeps us erect and wrlking, constantly battling the forces of gravity, do take their toll upon the spine.
Next, let’s discuss what actually causes pain in the spine, or radiating pain in the lower extremity, known as sciatica. Pain in the spine can come from muscle or ligament strain and sprain, from pressure on nerves, from intervertebral disc injury or tears, or from injury to the facet joints (located between the different vertebral body levels). Pain in the lower extremities (sciatica) may result from pressure on the nerves, from a herniated disc or from arthritis. In order to relieve the pain, the pressure must be removed from the nerve. This can be achieved by removing the portion of the disc which is pressing on the nerve, or drilling away or otherwise removing the bone spur pushing on the nerve. In the event of removing the disc bulge, this can be done by cutting the disc, or pulling the fragment out, or burning or vaporizing this fragment with a laser.
When we are dealing with pain in the spine (low back pain), the pain can be coming from several sources, as indicated above. When the pain is coming from the facet joint, a procedure can be done to disable the sensory nerves going to the facet joint. This can be done by heating the nerves, either by a heated probe known as a rhizotomy, or by the use of a laser. The nerves which are targeted are known as the medial branches of the spinal nerves which leave the spine.
To summarize, treating back pain or spine pain requires understanding what the source of the pain is. Once this is determined, treatment of the problem can begin. The laser functions as a focused source of heat which can destroy or vaporize tissue. Other methods such as cutting or coagulating can provide a similar result. The laser serves among other tools in the armamentarium of a spine surgeon or pain specialist, but in itself, is still merely a tool. The critical role in treating pain of the spine or sciatica is diagnosing what is causing the pain. The source of the pain can be chronic, or sudden (such as whiplash from a motor vehicle injury).
Experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston focus on discovering what the source and cause of the pain is. They believe that it is only after the cause has been located, that the actual treatment can truly begin. Simply treating the symptom of pain, without trying to find the cause, is not a good long term solution.
The KBNI, in Houston, TX treats patients from Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Kingwood, Beaumont, Memorial City, and TMC (Texas Medical Center). Patients who are suffering from low back pain, neck pain, and sciatica are welcome to call for an appointment.
They can also visit the website www.spinehealth.com and schedule online.
No testing or imaging studies are needed to make an appointment. Experts at the KBNI will arrange for appropriate studies.
Tags: spine, pain, sciatica, laser, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, kingwood, Beaumont, Memorial City, TMC (Texas Medical Center)
Minimally Invasive Surgery: Houston, Kingwood, Spring, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Humble: 281-713-6296
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Until relatively recently back surgery required large incisions accompanied by long periods of physical rehabilitation in post-operative care. With recent surgical advancements, however, new procedures have resulted in much shorter periods of physical rehabilitation. These surgical procedures—termed minimally invasive surgery or laporoscopic surgery—have revolutionized the way physicians approach not only back surgery, but several other varieties of major surgery as well.
Neurosurgeons specializing in spine surgery, Dr. Gary Kraus MD and Dr. Masaki Oishi MD PhD, at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston TX, have a vast experience in performing minimally invasive surgery of the spine. The procedures can be used to treat low back pain, neck pain, herniated discs of the spine, as well as sciatica. In some cases, spinal stenosis and spondylolosthesis can also be treated with minimally invasive techniques. Patients throughout the Houston and surrounding areas, including Katy, Spring, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Memorial City and the Texas Medical Center have trusted the neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute for treating their spine with minimally invasive surgery. Call 281-713-6296 for an appointment.
Minimally invasive surgeries typically involve one or more small incisions into which physicians insert thin plastic tubes. The tubes then provide the means for small observation cameras to be inserted. Using these cameras, surgeons can continuously adjust their technique during the operation, minimizing scarring and ultimately decreasing the patient’s post-operative pain levels and length of recovery. New robotic surgical assistants further contribute to the process by plotting optimal routes of incision and minimizing the number of physical adjustments a surgeon makes.
Many types of back surgery, however, do not have minimally invasive equivalents. Thorough medical consultation should be a top priority for patients considering minimally invasive surgery, as a misdiagnosis could result in a less effective procedure. Should the patient be a good candidate, a shorter, less expensive hospital stay and a faster recovery is the norm. This makes physical therapy all the more necessary—patients may feel that they can skip the process entirely given that their pain levels during post-operative care are much lower. Patients are advised to follow up on their physical therapy sessions as well as any subsequent visits to their spinal specialist. This will minimize the possibility of additional back surgery as well as maximize the chances for an effective recovery.
Physical rehabilitation for minimally invasive surgery is often similar to other kinds of surgery. In the case of most back surgery, core strengthening is often emphasized to assist in load-bearing activities (lifting, sitting, and standing) as well as to pressure from the spinal discs. Patients will also receive information on how to change their daily lifestyles to minimize the chances of re-injury and subsequent surgery.
Neurosurgeons Dr. Kraus and Dr. Oishi, at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, would be available for consultation to any patients suffering from low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, herniated discs, or any other spinal disorders. Even though they offer minimally invasive surgical approaches to the spine, they are able to treat many of their patients without the need for surgery. Patients from the Houston and surrounding areas including Katy, Spring, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Memorial City and the Texas Medical Center, can be seen without any prior testing or imaging studies.
Keywords: physical rehabilitation, minimally invasive surgery, spine surgery, back pain, back surgery, sciatica, Houston, katy, spring, texas medical center, Woodlands, Sugar Land
Sciatica Treatment in Houston
Put simply, sciatica is nerve pain in one or both of the legs. More specifically, sciatica is the term given to pain caused when one of the spinal nerves which are responsible for sensation in the legs is compressed. Compressed spinal nerves may have several different root causes, including: herniated (slipped) disks, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or Piriformis syndrome. Since the causes can vary widely in seriousness, thorough medical consultation is advised to avoid misdiagnosis. It is crucial to discover the root cause of the nerve compression, since spinal nerves do not regenerate if sufficiently traumatized. The Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX treats a very large number of patients suffering from sciatica, low back pain, leg pain, neck pain and upper extremity pain. Sciatica can be very effectively treated.
Normally, a complete physical exam will be enough to accurately diagnose sciatica. If a physician suspects alternate causes for nerve compression—such as a possible spinal fracture—imaging tests may be authorized. These can include X-rays to observe the integrity of the vertebrae, as well as magnetic resonance imaging tests to build images of the spine and surrounding tissues. Based on the results of the exam and the battery of imaging tests, physicians can formulate a diagnosis based on the severity of the compressed nerve.
Once sciatica has been diagnosed, there are several different possible courses of treatment depending on the severity of the nerve compression. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help to reduce swelling around the damaged nerves. Once swelling decreases, patients often report less pain and increases in mobility. Muscle relaxants also aid in swelling reduction. As for physical therapy, a licensed medical professional can match a regimen to each patient’s specific injury. Stretching, walking, and rest may be employed to ensure that swelling decreases. It is vital that patients keep up with their exercises to reduce recurrence of nerve compression. Healthy dieting and weight management are also effective means to prevent sciatica.
In rare cases, more serious measures may need to be taken. Surgery, spinal injections (most often a cortisone anti-inflammatory), and other spinal procedures may be considered as needed. If patients are not responding well to traditional physical therapy, consider seeking a specialist for further treatment.
For more information, follow up with the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston TX, experts in treating sciatica for patients in the Houston and surrounding areas, as well as across the United States.
While spinal acupuncture is not a typical option for treating neck and back pain, there are many patients who will testify to its beneficial effects. While the end results can vary widely depending on the severity of the patient’s back pain, Western physicians generally agree that spinal acupuncture is capable of stimulating a patient’s central nervous system. Patients may experience low back pain, neck pain, herniated dics, spinal stenosis, as well as sciatica. They may have suffered injury to the spine. A series of FDA-approved needles—different gauges are used at the physician’s discretion—are inserted to varying depths and at varying locations depending on the patient’s condition. The needles are extremely thin, usually around twenty times thinner than most hypodermic needles used in typical procedures. Many patients may not consider spinal acupuncture due to a fear of these needles, but acupuncture needles are also solid, which means that they do not remove tissue, whereas a hypodermic needle does. A thin, solid acupuncture needle, then, typically causes less pain than a hypodermic needle of equivalent size.
At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, Dr. Kraus and Dr. Oishi are extremely experienced at treating spinal injuries with conservative as well as surgical measures. There is a significant role for many types of conservative treatments, including the role of acupuncture in the treatment of spinal disorders and pain. The Kraus Back and Neck Institute treats patients from Houston and the surrounding areas, including Tomball, Katy, Memorial City, Spring, the Woodlands, Humble, Atascocita, Conroe, Kingwood, Galleria, the inner loop area, River Oaks, Sugar Land, Pearland, Galveston, Beaumont and Port Arthur, and other cities in Texas including Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth and San Antonio.
Spinal acupuncture patients most often report tingling sensations around the spine, an increase in sensation that can be the result of increased blood flow. This blood flow can offer relief for patients diagnosed with hypomobility (low mobility) of the spinal joints, as it brings oxygen and nutrition to the affected areas, especially when employed in conjunction with a regimen of physical therapy. It should also be noted that spinal acupuncture seems to be at least partially dependent on patient psychology—meaning that its effectiveness may be increased (or decreased) by the way the patient chooses to engage mentally with the treatment.
In some medical circles, acupuncture is also thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are the body’s naturally manufactured means of reducing pain. Though it may be tempting for patients to rely solely on the endorphins released during acupuncture sessions, other medical consultation is strongly advised. A regimen of physical therapy, healthy dieting, and proper weight management can all do their part in reducing low back pain over the long term.
For more information about conservative care of the spine, for the treatment of low back pain, neck pain, herniated disc in the low back or neck, sciatics, degenerative disc disease as well as spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis, contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, in Houston TX. Call 281-713-6296 to schedule an appointment.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute treats patients from Houston and the surrounding areas of the Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Sugarland and Humble. They also treat patients from Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth and San Antonio, among other cities in Texas. They see patients who have not had any imaging studies, and will order the appropriate testing.
Keywords: spinal acupuncture, acupuncture, hypodermic needle, low back pain, physical therapy, sciatica, low back pain, neck pain, Houston, Woodlands, Tomball, Katy, Memorial City, River Oaks