Archive for May, 2014

SPINE PAIN, SCIATICA and LASER TREATMENT review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Kingwood, Beaumont, Memorial City, TMC (Texas Medical Center)

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spine, pain, sciatica, laser, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, kingwood, Beaumont, Memorial City, TMC (Texas Medical Center)

spine, pain, sciatica, laser, 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.

laser treatment for spine pain sciatica Houston

laser treatment for spine pain sciatica Houston

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)

 

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Whiplash Treatment with Therapy and Chiropractic in Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur Review by KBNI

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whiplash, physical therapy, therapy, chiropractor, chiropractic, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland

whiplash, physical therapy, therapy, chiropractor, chiropractic, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland

WATCH VIDEO ABOUT NECK AND BACK INJURY TREATMENT

Whiplash is the informal term for a medical condition in which the neck muscles, ligaments, or vertebrae have been extended beyond their everyday range of motion, typically as the result of physical trauma from an accident or injury. For example, during a rear-end automobile motor vehicle accident in which a driver does not have time to brace for impact, the cervical (neck) region of the spinal column can be snapped forward and back in a motion similar to the crack of a whip. Hyperextension then occurs in the neck muscles and can also be accompanied by displacement of cervical vertebrae.

For minor strains, neurological injury may not be present, but the patient may experience straining of the muscles and ligaments.  Initial rest followed by strengthening may be beneficial.  Experts at strengthening include those who provide therapy (physical therapy) as well as chiropractic treatment with a chiropractor.

Normally, whiplash occurs as the result of automobile accidents, but may be caused by contact sports or deliberate physical abuse (such as being shaken or punched). Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headaches that radiate from the base of the skull, and neck pain or stiffness. Mild whiplash is typically treated with pain relievers and anti-inflammatories with no long-term complications. More severe whiplash may cause pain to radiate down to the shoulders and arms, or produce tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the arms. These injuries signal compression of the spinal nerves or spinal cord, which run the length of the spinal column while providing sensation to most of the body. Long-term loss of sensation may occur if these spinal nerves suffer substantial physical trauma.

chiropractic treatment with chiropractor

chiropractic treatment with chiropractor

If a patient’s whiplash induced neck pain levels are not addressed by over-the-counter pain medications, or if the neck pain has not subsided after a few days, immediate medical consultation is advised. Physicians will conduct a physical exam to test the patient’s mobility. Should the cervical region’s mobility be sufficiently compromised, imaging tests (X-rays, CT scans, or magnetic resonance imaging) may be necessary to gauge the extent of the damage as well as to evaluate possible courses of treatment.

In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair whiplash damaged vertebrae, ensure cervical stability, or relieve pressure on the spinal cord. As the cervical region is more delicate than other parts of the spine, post-operative care will often include very specific physical therapy designed to strengthen the muscles that support the neck. Stronger neck muscles will lower the incidence of future whiplash, in addition to helping the body more efficiently distribute the weight of the skull without causing long-term complications.

Strengthening of the neck can involve physical therapy or chiropractic treatment with a chiropractor.  There are some differences and many similarities with the therapy provided by physical therapy and the chiropractic treatment provided by a chiropractor.  Ultimately, strong muscles in the neck help to reduce the risk of whiplash and neck injury in the future.  Health of the muscles in important for neck and back health.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, serves patients in the Houston and surrounding areas, including Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Kingwood, Sugarland, Pearland, Atascocita, Friendswood, Memorial City, Galleria, Bryan, College Station, Baytown, Beaumont and Port Arthur. In addition, accommodations can be made for patients from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI)has significant experience with patients suffering injury or trauma to the neck and back.  This may have been from a motor vehicle accident or other injury.  The KBNI has found that, after treating thousands of patients, most can be treated and have their neck pain and symptoms improved without the need of an operation.  When surgery on the spine is needed, they offer the most advanced techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery.

To arrange a consultation for review at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston

Call:  281-713-6296
or visit    www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an online appointment

Keywords: whiplash, physical therapy, therapy, chiropractor, chiropractic, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland

 

physical therapy for motor vehicle injury whiplash

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Spinal Stenosis or Lumbar Stenosis Causes Low Back Pain and Leg Pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

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lumbar myelogram with stenosis, spinal stenosis, lumbar stenosis, spinal nerve, physical therapy, core strength, low back pain, leg pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

lumbar myelogram with stenosis, spinal stenosis, lumbar stenosis, spinal nerve, physical therapy, core strength, low back pain, leg pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

Gary Kraus, MD and Masaki Oishi, MD PhD of Kraus Back and Neck Institute, Houtson, TX VIDEO

Depending on where in the spinal column it manifests, spinal stenosis can be an extremely serious condition. Lumbar (low back) spinal stenosis involves the compression of spinal nerves that run along the spinal column. Spinal nerve compression typically causes decreased mobility accompanied by very sharp lower back pain. This type of spinal nerve compression also produces sciatica, which is normally a radiating or shooting pain down one or both of the legs. Lumbar spinal stenosis is normally less serious, given that the spinal cord is not at risk for compression. Cervical spinal stenosis, however, is potentially far more dangerous. The cervical spinal cord can be compressed, causing nerve damage and, if left untreated, paralysis.  When a patient experiences lumbar spinal stenosis, symptoms of pain in the lower extremities typically increases when standing or walking, but improves when sitting.  This is because the ligamentum flavum, which is the “yellow” ligament which lies behind the nerves, buckles when standing, but stretches and therefore thins when bending or sitting, thus thinning out and relieving pressure on the nerves in the lumbar spine.  The pain which a patient experiences in the legs when standing is different than the pain of “vascular claudication” which is pain in the lower extremities which occurs when a patient is walking.  This vascular claudication or leg pain results from increases activity of the muscles of the legs, without adequate blood supply to the muscles, because of narrowing of the arteries feeding the muscles in the leg.

MRI lumbar stenosis, lumbar myelogram with stenosis, spinal stenosis, lumbar stenosis, spinal nerve, physical therapy, core strength, low back pain, leg pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

MRI lumbar stenosis, lumbar myelogram with stenosis, spinal stenosis, lumbar stenosis, spinal nerve, physical therapy, core strength, low back pain, leg pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

There are several different possible causes for spinal stenosis, and physicians will normally need to conduct imaging tests (CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging MRI , and X-rays) to determine the best course of treatment. Excessive bone growth, herniated (slipped) spinal discs, tumors, overly thick spinal ligaments, and physical trauma can all potentially cause spinal stenosis. Since these problems may need corrective surgery, physicians may require several tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis. In the case of spinal tumors, this will often include a biopsy to determine whether the mass is malignant, as well as if the cancer has spread to other regions of the body.

Surgery to correct lumbar spinal stenosis is typically called a decompressive lumbar laminectomy, which is a surgery of the lumbar spine to remove the back of the spine, the lamina and spinous processes, and remove the ligamentum flavum, to give the nerves more room, and take away pressure on the nerves.

Several medications, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers, will often be administered during post-operative care. Physical therapy will also form a cornerstone of a patient’s recovery from spinal stenosis. Physicians typically prescribe a regimen of core strengthening exercises to build up the network of ligaments, muscles, and tendons around the spinal column in order to maximize their ability to assist the spine in bearing the stresses of movement. Increased blood flow and nutrition from aerobic activity will also help in maintaining optimal core strength. Patients should complete their entire physical therapy regimen, as well as adopting long-term core strengthening exercises to lower pain levels and reduce the possibility of subsequent back surgeries.

Spine experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute have significant experience treating patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical spinal stenosis.  Patients are treated from Houston and the surrounding areas, including Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont and Port Arthur.

“So don’t live in fear and pain.”  Come see the experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX.
KRAUS BACK AND NECK INSTITUTE VIDEO, DR GARY KRAUS AND DR MASAKI OISHI

Keywords: spinal stenosis, lumbar stenosis, spinal nerve, physical therapy, core strength, low back pain, leg pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood, Memorial City, Beaumont, Port Arthur

 

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Healthy Diets for Minimizing Low Back Pain and Neck Pain, from KBNI Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Memorial City, Pearland, Katy, Beaumont, Humble, Kingwood, Texas Medical Center, TMC

 

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low back pain, neck pain, proper nutrition, hydration, spinal column, katy, kingwood, humble, memorial city, memorial city, sugarland, woodlands, Texas Medical Center, TMC

low back pain, neck pain, proper nutrition, hydration, spinal column, katy, kingwood, humble, memorial city, memorial city, sugarland, woodlands, Texas Medical Center, TMC

Normally, is not the first thing patients think about when considering how to address their low back pain or neck pain. Yet, proper nutrition can have profoundly positive effects on a patient’s lifestyle, including reducing their overall neck and back pain levels. While anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers help to temporarily reduce a patient’s chronic back pain, these medications actually do not address the underlying causes of the pain, some of which may be related to the patient’s diet.

First, proper hydration is crucial in preventing muscle spasms and cramping. Many people do not consume enough water (typically an ounce per pound of body weight, varying according to physical activity) in the course of their daily routines. Severe cramping or muscle spasms can have adverse effects on the spinal column, causing compression in the spinal nerves that in turn produces severe pain. Proper hydration also helps maintain the cartilage between the spinal column’s joints—a dehydrated joint degrades more quickly as a result of the load-bearing stress of daily movement.

Protein—particularly from lean meats and fish—will help maintain the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the spinal column. Along with physical therapy and core strengthening exercises, protein is a key component in ensuring the muscles of the spinal column can properly assist the spinal joints in load-bearing activities. Healthy fats from coconuts, beef, and fish will help maintain the cartilage in the spinal column’s joints, as well as the joints in other regions of the body. This significantly lowers the chances that a joint will degrade to the point of compressing nearby spinal nerves.

low back pain, neck pain, proper nutrition, hydration, spinal column, katy, kingwood, humble, memorial city, memorial city, sugarland, woodlands, Texas Medical Center, TMC

low back pain, neck pain, proper nutrition, hydration, spinal column, katy, kingwood, humble, memorial city, memorial city, sugarland, woodlands, Texas Medical Center, TMC

Calcium, vitamin D, and many trace nutrients will help maintain proper bone density. This is particularly important in older patients, as osteoporosis (low bone density) can cause weak regions in the bones. When subjected to the normal stresses of daily movement, spinal or hip fractures can lead to dangerous falls in elderly patients. Proper nutrition and nutritional supplements reduces incidence of spinal and hip fractures, in addition to keeping bone density at near-optimal levels.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, believes that proper nutrition and a healthy diet is important for preventing low back pain and neck pain, but additionally, if one already has these conditions, it will help to improve healing and reduce the pain.  Proper nutritional counseling may be very important for the healing process.  The KBNI treats patients, from the Houston TX area and surrounding areas including Sugarland, Woodlands, Memorial City, Pearland, Katy, Beaumont, Humble, Kingwood, and the Texas Medical Center (TMC).  Any patients suffering from low back pain or neck pain, in Houston or other areas of the county, are welcome to call for an office appointment.  They may also schedule online at www.spinehealth.com

Video for Kraus Back and Neck Instiute and Low Back Pain / Neck Pain

Keywords: low back pain, neck pain, proper nutrition, hydration, spinal column, katy, kingwood, humble, memorial city, memorial city, sugarland, woodlands, Texas Medical Center, TMC

 

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Sacroiliac Joint Injections SI Joint and Lower Back Pain Treatment in Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

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sacroiliac joint injection, SI Joint, lower back pain, physical therapy, corticosteroid, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

sacroiliac joint injection, SI Joint, lower back pain, physical therapy, corticosteroid, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

The sacroiliac joints ( SI joint )are formed between the sacrum (a triangular bone that forms the base of the spinal column) and the ilium (hip bone). A thin layer of cartilage helps the joints articulate, as is the case with the intervertebral joints. Due to their fundamental role in load-bearing and motion, the sacroiliac joints are susceptible to degeneration resulting from repetitive motion, stress, lifting, and excessive use. Patients who suffer from chronic lower back pain may be candidates for sacroiliac joint injections, but accurate diagnosis is essential, given that sacroiliac joint injections administered to a patient with a different condition may be completely ineffective in addressing a patient’s back pain.  Diagnosis is very important in the treatment of lower back pain.  It is not sufficient to treat the symptoms of lower back pain, but it is best to make the best efforts at finding the cause of the lower back pain, and then treat that casue.

Lower back pain experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston TX, have significant experience in helping patients who have been suffering from lower back pain for a short or long period of time.  They treat patients throughout the Houston area, as well as areas neighboring Houston such as the Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, and Galleria.  Patients  also travel from Austin, Dallas / Ft Worth, and San Antonio.

Physicians typically administer several different physical exams to help them reach an accurate diagnosis: the Gillette test, the Faber maneuver, the Fortin finger test, and the Gaenslen test may all be used, depending on where a patient reports pain in the spinal column. All of these physical exams deal with the sacroiliac joints performing a specific kind of motion—if the patient’s mobility is compromised, he or she may be a candidate for sacroiliac joint ( SI joint ) injections. Further consensus is reached by specific imaging tests: CT scans, X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging, which also help to rule out other causes of lower back pain.

sacroiliac joint injection, SI Joint, lower back pain, physical therapy, corticosteroid, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

sacroiliac joint injection, SI Joint, lower back pain, physical therapy, corticosteroid, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

The procedure itself typically involves the injection of a corticosteroid into the sacroiliac joint ( SI joint ). A local anesthetic numbs the injection site, while dye accompanies the injection to ensure  coverage of the sacroiliac joint injection (SI joint ). Corticosteroids act as an anti-inflammatory agent within the joint, ideally reducing pain from load-bearing stress for up to a year. A regimen of physical therapy, proper weight management, and healthy dieting with proper nutrition and nutritional supplements will further help to maximize the positive effects of the procedure. If a patient does not engage in physical therapy to strengthen the support network of muscles around the spinal column, further degeneration of the sacroiliac joint will occur at an accelerated pace.  This could lead to worsening or more chronic lower back pain.  Core strengthening is very important to preventing and improving lower back pain.  If one would eventually require a lower back surgery which involves a fusion, it is important to stop smoking before the spinal fusion surgery, as smoking will decrease likelihood  of a successful fusion of bone occurring.

Since the corticosteroid’s effectiveness will eventually wear off, sacroiliac joint injections are viewed as a short-term solution to reducing a patient’s back pain. Long-term focus must be placed on living a healthy, preventative lifestyle designed to maximize the life of the joint and minimize pain. Physical therapy may include instruction on new ways of lifting, standing, walking, and load-bearing.   If lower back pain is persistent, and the SI joint injections improve the pain, then one can consider rhizotomies (burning of the nerves to the SI joint) of nerves to the SI joint, or SI joint fusion.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) has vast experience in treating patients with lower back pain.   Patients suffering from lower back pain can call the KBNI to arrange for an evaluation. Patients do not need to have had any types of imaging or other studies.   Lower back pain experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute will order the appropriate studies.  In  the majority of cases, lower back pain can be treated without the need for surgery.  If surgery is needed, neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute have tremendous experience in utilizing the appropriate surgery on the lower back, to get patients back to their normal life as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Patients in the Houston and surrounding areas (Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria) are welcome to be evaluated, or come in for questions.

Keywords: sacroiliac joint injection, SI Joint, lower back pain, physical therapy, corticosteroid, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Humble, Conroe, Beaumont, College Station, Galleria

 

sacroiliac joint injection, SI joint, lower back pain, Houston, Katy, Woodlands

sacroiliac joint injection, SI joint, lower back pain, Houston, Katy, Woodlands

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Spinal Fusion including Lumbar Fusion and Cervical Fusion for Pain and Nerve Compression in Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center, TMC, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe and Beaumont

 

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spinal fusion, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, nerve compression, pain, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, memorial city, texas medical center, TMC, humble, kingwood, Conroe, beaumont

spinal fusion, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, nerve compression, pain, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, memorial city, texas medical center, TMC, humble, kingwood, Conroe, beaumont

Bone fusion (also called arthrodesis) (when performed in the low back  spine is called lumbar fusion, when performed in the neck is called cervical fusion) is the procedure by which bones are joined at specific joints, most often to alleviate pain. The new fused bones are allowed to grow together. This lowers pain levels because at common bone fusion sites (lumbar or lower spine, wrists, ankles, or thumbs, neck or cervical spine) there are often nerves nearby that are responsible for  sensation, as well as recognition of joint position and movement. Bones on either side of the deteriorating joint can compress these nerves and cause extreme pain. Fusing these bones significantly lowers the incidence of nerve irritation, and when bone spurs are removed, can reduce nerve compression.

Causes for a patient desiring bone fusion surgery, or spinal fusion surgery can include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as severe back pain due to tumors or herniated (slipped) discs. Like other joints in the body, the discs (shock-absorbing pads) between our spinal vertebrae, can wear out. Nerve compression in the spine occurs much more frequently when these spinal discs have been thinned or ruptured by age and activity. The arthritis, as well as the chronic herniated discs, can compress nerves passing next to them.  As in other regions of the body, bone fusion is a possible solution for reducing pain, but it will eliminate mobility at that particular joint.

Neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, in Houston, have a significant experience with utilizing spinal fusion (lumbar fusion, cervical fusion) to treat neck pain and low back pain in patients.  They have offices located in Houston and surrounding areas of Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas  Medical Center (TMC), Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, and Beaumont.

Bone fusion is somewhat unique in that in many cases, it seeks to mimic the body’s natural healing response. In one version, bone is taken from another region in the body and inserted between the two or more bones that are being fused together. This “foreign” bone stimulates bone growth during post-operative care, as it is placed under pressure and adjacent to other bone, which has been prepared to grow into the new bone graft.  Other versions of bone fusion or spinal fusion may include implantation of wires, metal plates, screws, and other devices to accurately position the new joint, and keep it immobile, while the new bone is trying to grow into the bone graft. Adequate rest and physical therapy during post-operative care are absolutely essential to ensure that a proper bone fusion takes place. If the new joint is displaced by excessive movement, subsequent corrective surgeries may be necessary to re-set the bone.

spinal fusion, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, nerve compression, pain, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, memorial city, texas medical center, TMC, humble, kingwood, Conroe, beaumont

spinal fusion, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, nerve compression, pain, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, memorial city, texas medical center, TMC, humble, kingwood, Conroe, beaumont

The technique of lumbar fusion or cervical fusion  (spinal fusion) can be performed in several ways.  The general principle is to have bone grow across the currently mobile disc space.  A number of techniques are possible.  One approach is to try to achieve this fusion on the sides of the spine, between what are known as transverse processes, which project outward from the vertebral bodies.  In doing so, the surgeon exposes these transverse processes during the operation, and removes the outer coating of the bone, known as the cortex, thus exposing the inner cancellous bone, which is the honeycomb type of bone seen when one breaks open a chicken bone.  With the outer hard cortex removed, the inner cancellous bone will attempt to grow into the bone graft which it is in contact with.  This bone graft can be placed on the side of the spine, which is known as a lumbar posterolateral fusion.  It can also be placed between the vertebral bodies, which is known as an interbody fusion.  When this type of lumbar fusion is performed, it is called a lumbar intervertebral body fusion.  When this type of cervical fusion is performed, it is called a an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).  In the cervical spine, this type of fusion is generally performed through an anterior approach, which means going in through the front of the neck.  When this interbody fusion is performed in the lumbar spine, it can be performed from the back of the spine (known as a PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion) or a TLIF (transverse lumber interbody fusion), the front of the spine (known as an ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion).  It can also be performed from the side of the spine, known as an XLIF (extreme lateral interbody fusion) or a DLIF (direct lateral interbody fusion) (these different names utilized basically the same lateral approach, but were given different names by two different manufacturers of the spinal hardware equipment (Nuvasive and Medtronic).  It can also be performed through an approach going straight up the spine, through an incision made next to the tail bone, known as an AXIALIF (axial lumbar interbody fusion), the instruments of which are manufactured by TranS1.

There are also a number of different grafts which can be used for promoting the bone growth in a spinal fusion.  Cadaver bone can be used, which is harvested from cadavers.  This is known as allograft.  Bone can be taken from the patient undergoing surgery, either from a different site or from the same site.  This is known as autograft.  Substances known as bone morphogenic protein (BMP) ( Medtronic manufactures Infuse) can be used locally to promote bone growth.  Stem cells, taken from the patient’s own blood which has been spun down in a centrifuge, can be placed over the graft to help promote bone growth.

Candidates for bone fusion / spinal fusion also need to be aware of the effects of smoking on the procedure. Osteoblasts (bone-growing cells) are needed in droves to ensure a speedy recovery. One of the addictive chemicals in cigarettes, nicotine, is toxic to osteoblasts and can substantially lengthen the time necessary for a complete bone fusion, or even make it impossible to achieve. Smokers are advised to abstain before and after the procedure.

Patients suffering pain in the neck, low back, or other portions of the spine, can call the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX.  They will be evaluated and appropriate tests will be ordered.  No imaging studies are required for patients to be seen.

http://www.spinepain.com/anterior-cervical-discectomy-with-fusion-kraus-back-neck-institute.html

http://www.neurosurgery.com

http://www.neurosurgeryhouston.com/services/spine-conditions

spinal fusion, cervical fusion, lumbar fusion for nerve compression and pain in Houston

spinal fusion, cervical fusion, lumbar fusion for nerve compression and pain in Houston

Key Words: spinal fusion, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, nerve compression, pain, Houston, katy, woodlands, sugarland, memorial city, texas medical center, TMC, humble, kingwood, Conroe, beaumont

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Nutritional Supplements for Bone Growth from KBNI Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

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nutritional supplements, bone growth, low bone density, osteoporosis, Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

nutritional supplements, bone growth, low bone density, osteoporosis, Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

Proper bone growth during physical development and maintenance of bone mass in the adult years are both extremely important in preventing osteoporosis (low bone density). Osteoporosis can produce many different varieties of hollowness in the bone, lowering overall bone density and increasing the likelihood of fracture. Bones that bear a lot of stress in everyday movement are particularly susceptible to fracture in a patient with osteoporosis. Older persons with osteoporosis are at risk for fractured hips, which may cause dangerous and even life-threatening falls. Regular nutritional supplements for bone growth can minimize the possibility of fracture while also granting patients increased mobility and decreased levels of bone pain. Bones will be stronger and hence more stable and capable of evenly distributing and supporting the body’s weight.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, recognizes that in order for the body to heal, proper nutrition is important.  Nutrition can improved with supplements.  This is critical when the body is healing from injury or from surgery.  Increases in body metabolism after an injury or surgery make it important for the body to have the proper nutrients, or building blocks, so that it can begin the process of repair.  It is also important to try to curtail smoking, as this will decrease the likelihood of a successful fusion healing.  The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) is located in Houston, TX.  The philosophy of the KBNI is to use conservative treatments for low back pain and neck pain when possible, but utilizing surgery when necessary.  The KBNI treats patients throughout the Houston area, as well as the surrounding communities of the Woodlands, Katy, Kingwood, Katy, Sugarland, Spring, Humble and Memorial City.  Patients are also seen form areas throughout Texas, including Austin, Dallas  / Ft. Worth, and San Antonio.

nutritional supplements, bone growth, low bone density, osteoporosis, Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

nutritional supplements, bone growth, low bone density, osteoporosis, Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals is a good place to begin. Calcium and vitamin D have been shown to aid in bone growth, as have a number of trace nutrients like boron, magnesium, strontium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Many of these trace nutrients also have several other helpful uses within the body. Due to the fact that most of the bone mass (approximately 90%) is developed before a person turns twenty years of age, it is never too early to begin a healthy diet further enriched by nutritional supplements. Continuing this trend into adulthood can help maintain bone density and promote bone growth at near-peak levels. This will also minimize the chances that young and middle-aged persons do not develop low bone density.

Healthy dieting, proper weight management, and nutritional supplements can all be aided by regular exercise. Aerobic activity, yoga, Tai Chi, and other activities that emphasize strength, flexibility, and endurance help to develop the supporting network of ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These tissues, when properly maintained, help the bones in distributing and managing the body’s weight during physical activities. Following a total regimen—diet, weight management, and exercise—will maximize bone health and regeneration for patients of any age.

Keywords: nutritional supplements, bone growth, low bone density, osteoporosis, Houston, Woodlands, Spring, Katy, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Sugarland

 

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How Smoking Affects Spinal Fusion and Surgeries – Back and Neck Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

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smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

Spinal fusion is a procedure which fuses two or more vertebrae in the spinal column together. This surgical procedure can compensate for spinal discs (shock-absorbing pads between each vertebra) that have degenerated to the point where the spinal nerves are at risk for compression. The stress of major back surgery is such that smokers will often be tempted to smoke more in the aftermath and during recovery. Dr. Gary Kraus and Dr. Masaki Oishi at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston TX, have extensive history of performing fusion of the spine, including the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.  They have several offices around Houston serving patients in Houston, Kingwood, Humble, Katy, Woodlands, Pearland, Memorial City, Quite simply, it is absolutely preferable that patients cease smoking for at least two months prior to spinal fusion and for at least six months after any major bone alteration within the spinal column. Better still if patients are able to quit smoking indefinitely. Nicotine, one of the primary addictive chemicals in cigarettes, is toxic to bone growth. The balance of the body’s osteoblasts (bone-growing cells) and osteoclasts (bone-eating cells) is severely compromised by smoking during both the pre- and post-operative periods. Large decreases in the number of osteoblasts means that bone generative capacity is vastly reduced, signaling a long (and possibly ineffective) spinal fusion process. Normally, patients decide on spinal fusion and similar back surgery due to increases in back pain and a corresponding decrease in mobility. If patients continue to smoke during the post-operative period, bone fusion—if it even takes place—will take much longer. This means that patients will face many more months of decreased mobility and elevated levels of back pain. Though a nicotine addiction may be strong, abstinence from smoking during the pre- and post-operative period will shorten recovery time significantly. Non-smoking patients will also be more capable of participating in aerobic portions of physical therapy, which stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to areas around the spinal column. This extra nutrition will further speed the process of recovery. Though the precise method of physical rehabilitation may depend on the complexity of the spinal surgery and the patient’s overall health, the absence of nicotine from the patient’s daily life will optimize his or her chances at an effective spinal fusion. Patients suffering from low back pain and neck pain can easily make an appointment and be seen at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston and surrounding areas.  No imaging or other studies are needed to be seen.  The doctors at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute will order the appropriate testing.

smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

http://www.spinepain.com/

http://www.neurosurgery.com

http://lowback-pain.com

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Keywords: smoking, spinal fusion, physical therapy, osteoblasts, back surgery, Houston, Katy, Humble, Woodlands, Sugar Land, Kingwood, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio

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Reducing Neck Pain…… Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria…. 281-713-6296

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                   Reducing Neck Pain

neck pain, stretching, physical therapy, muscle tension, spinal column, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria

neck pain, stretching, physical therapy, muscle tension, spinal column, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria

Along with low back pain, neck pain is one of the most prolific afflictions of the modern workplace. Millions of workers across the globe work in positions that are mainly sedentary, many of which requiring long hours in the sitting position. This translates into increased stress on the cervical vertebrae (upper spine) and the intervertebral discs (shock-absorbing pads between each vertebra), as well as elevated levels of muscle tension in the upper spinal column. As the duration of muscle tension increases, the muscles themselves are deprived of blood and oxygen. They can eventually begin to spasm, which leads to sharp pain and a chance of compressing spinal nerves that run through the vertebrae.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute located in Houston, TX, has vast experience treating patients with neck pain.  Conveniently located with offices through the Houston area, patients are seen from Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Sugar Land, Pearland, Inner Loop, the Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Splendora, Conroe and Magnolia.  For those patients traveling from Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, or other cities across the United States, travel accommodations can be arranged.

Fortunately, due to most incidence of neck pain being the result of sedentary work, there are many ways in which to reduce most patients’ pain levels. First, patients are advised to be conscious of their daily activity. If you find yourself staring at your computer monitor or desk for extended periods of time, give your body frequent breaks. Take five to ten minutes of every hour and get up, walk around, and rotate the neck and shoulder blades. Light aerobic activity and muscle movement will increase blood circulation, bringing nutrition and oxygen to your muscles. This will help prevent cramping and muscle spasms in addition to reducing neck pain.

Other common neck strengthening exercises include slow, deliberate stretches, head rotations / neck rolls, and shoulder shrugs. This will help develop the network of supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the upper spinal column. Some patients, however, may suffer from more than simple hypomobility (low mobility). If a regimen of physical therapy does not significantly improve a patient’s range of motion and decrease pain levels, a structural deformity, disease, or spinal fracture may be the cause. Physicians typically employ imaging exams—CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging, and X-rays—to determine whether structural problems are the problem. Neck surgery may be necessary, in addition to a lengthy post-operative period of physical therapy and rest.

neck pain, stretching, physical therapy, muscle tension, spinal column, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria

neck pain, stretching, physical therapy, muscle tension, spinal column, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute sees patients who have neck pain, arm pain, and other disorders of the spine.  Patients do not need any imaging studies or other tests.  Appropriate testing can be ordered after patients are evaluated.  Most patients suffering from neck pain can be treated successfully without the need for surgery.

Keywords: neck pain, physical therapy, muscle tension, spinal column, Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Galleria,

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Core Strengthening Exercises help Low Back Pain: Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Galleria, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, 281-713-6296

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                             Core Strengthening Exercises help Low Back Pain

low back pain, neck pain, core strengthening exercises, physical therapy, houston, austin, dallas, fort worth, san antonio

low back pain, neck pain, core strengthening exercises, physical therapy, houston, austin, dallas, fort worth, san antonio

Neck pain and low back pain are some of the most common maladies of modern workers. Due to the sedentary nature of most office work, muscles in the torso can atrophy to the point where they no longer effectively help the spinal column in bearing most of the body’s weight. This in turn places more stress on the spinal column, which can accelerate the degeneration of the intervertebral discs (shock-absorbing pads that lie in between each vertebra).

Neurosurgeon experts Dr. Kraus and Dr. Oishi, at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, have found over the years of practice in treating many thousands of patients, that most patients will improve their neck pain and low back pain without the need of an operation.  Core strengthening exercises are part of an entire program of treatment which will help patients suffering from neck pain or low back pain.  The Kraus Back and Neck Institute treats patients from the Houston and surrounding areas, including the Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Galleria, Memorial City, as well as other cities in Texas including Austin, Dallas Fort Worth and San Antonio.

The first line of defense against back pain—even when physicians become involved—is often core strengthening exercises. Developing muscles in the abdomen and around the spinal column will allow natural bodyweight and the stress of movement to be more evenly distributed. This will decrease wear on the spinal joints and discs. Licensed medical professionals may prescribe a regimen of physical therapy designed to reach this goal. Imaging tests, such as CT scans, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging, are also options to determine if the problem is related to inactivity (hypomobility) or if the problem is tied to an underlying structural deformity, such as scoliosis or spinal fracture.

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low back pain, neck pain, core strengthening exercises, physical therapy, houston, austin, dallas, fort worth, san antonio

After an accurate diagnosis has been made, it is crucial that patients continue to perform their physical therapy / physical medicine regimens to their requisite frequency and duration. Patients who complete a physical therapy program—and who even afterward continue in maintaining core strength—report demonstrably lower levels of pain, as well as fewer spinal injuries. Proper weight management, a healthy diet, and nutritional supplements will also help greatly during a core strengthening physical therapy regimen. Pain relief or improvement will not be immediate, but proper core strengthening exercises conducted on a consistent basis will have a long term effect on improving low back pain and neck pain.

As for the core strengthening exercises themselves, physical therapy routines may be specially crafted for patients based on where in the spinal column the patient’s pain is originating. Mainstays include exercise balls, light aerobics, and stretching, as well as traditional core strengthening exercises like yoga and Tai-Chi. Emphasis is normally placed on flexibility, strength, prolonging mobility, and minimizing pain. Aerobic activity helps stimulate muscles, flooding the torso with blood and oxygen, while light weight training builds resistance and load-bearing capabilities.

For More Information, please contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, or visit online at www.SpineHealth.com .

Keywords: low back pain, neck pain, core strengthening exercises, physical therapy, spinal column, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Galleria, Memorial City, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio

 

low back pain, neck pain, core strengthening exercises, physical therapy, houston, austin, dallas, fort worth, san antonio

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Minimally Invasive Surgery: Houston, Kingwood, Spring, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Humble: 281-713-6296

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         Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

 

physical rehabilitation, minimally invasive surgery, spine surgery, back pain, back surgery, sciatica, Houston, katy, spring, texas medical center, Woodlands, Sugar Land

physical rehabilitation, minimally invasive surgery, spine surgery, back pain, back surgery, sciatica, Houston, katy, spring, texas medical center, Woodlands, Sugar Land

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.

http://www.neckpain.com/minimally-invasive-kraus-back-neck-institute.html

Keywords: physical rehabilitation, minimally invasive surgery, spine surgery, back pain, back surgery, sciatica, Houston, katy, spring, texas medical center, Woodlands, Sugar Land

 

physical rehabilitation, minimally invasive surgery, spine surgery, back pain, back surgery, sciatica, Houston, katy, spring, texas medical center, Woodlands, Sugar Land

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Herniated Disc Injury (Motor Vehicle Injury, Truck Injury) : Review of Treatment in Houston Katy Woodlands Spring Humble Baytown Beaumont Port Arthur

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                         Herniated Disc Injury (Motor Vehicle Injury, Truck Injury)

 

 

herniated disc, physical therapy, back pain, spinal nerve, Houston, Galleria, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Memorial City, motor vehicle injury, truck injury

herniated disc, physical therapy, back pain, spinal nerve, Houston, Galleria, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Memorial City, motor vehicle injury, truck injury

Spinal discs are the pads between each vertebra of the spinal column. They act as shock absorbers for the body, compensating for the stresses of everyday movement: running, jumping, sitting, standing, walking, etc. Each disc has a tough, durable exterior but is filled with a soft, jelly-like material. Herniated discs occur when stress (usually from natural wear and tear as we age, but occasionally from improper lifting or other kinds of physical trauma) (motor vehicle injury, truck injury) pushes some of the softer material through a rupture in the exterior portion of the disc. This can aggravate or compress nearby spinal nerves, causing extreme pain. Depending on the seriousness of the spinal nerve compression, back pain may be accompanied by numbness, muscle weakness, tingling, and a shooting or radiating pain in any of the extremities. If any of these symptoms accompany a patient’s back pain, immediate medical consultation is advised. Continual compression of spinal nerves can lead to permanent damage, which may include a loss of sensation.  Experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, have significant experience treating thousands of patients suffering from the low back pain, leg pain and sciatica of herniated discs in the lumbar spine.  Dr. Gary Kraus and Dr. Masaki Oishi take a very conservative approach to treating patients suffering from these disorders, and in most cases find that patients can be effectively treated, with significant pain reduction, without the need of an operation.  Dr Kraus and Dr Oishi have extensive experience taking care of patients who have been in automobile injuries, truck injuries, or suffered other types of motor vehicle injuries.

Physical therapy in combination with anti-inflammatories and rest may significantly reduce the back pain associated with a herniated disc. A licensed medical professional will, through a specialized regimen of physical therapy, show patients new techniques that minimize the possibility of re-injury. In particular, torsional or lateral movement while lifting should be minimized, as these methods can significantly raise pressure within the spinal column, leading to an increased likelihood of a herniated disc.

For seriously herniated discs, surgical procedures may be necessary. Spinal fusion, a procedure in which the vertebrae are fused together, can eliminate the pain caused by worn intervertebral discs. Artificial discs are also an option—these discs can now match a natural disc in durability. Surgery should be considered only as a last resort, however. The costliness and lengthy rehabilitation periods during post-operative care for most spinal surgeries mean that physicians typically recommend surgery only after physical therapy, healthy dieting, exercise, and weight management have failed to improve a patient’s quality of life or lower levels of back pain.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, treats and will review patients from Houston, Katy, Inner Loop, Memorial City, Galleria, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Humble and Spring.  Many patients may have been in automobile injuries or truck injuries.  Patients are welcome to call the Kraus Back and Neck Institute.  No films or other studies are needed.  Appropriate imaging studies and other tests may be ordered if indicated and needed.

http://www.spinepain.com/surgical-procedures-kraus-back-neck-institute.html

http://www.neckpain.com/spinal-surgery-kraus-back-neck-institute.html

http://www.surgeryspine.com/lower-back-lumbar-surgery-kraus-neck-institute.html

Keywords: herniated disc, physical therapy, back pain, spinal nerve, Houston, Galleria, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Memorial City, motor vehicle injury, truck injury

herniated disc, physical therapy, back pain, spinal nerve, Houston, Galleria, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Memorial City, motor vehicle injury, truck injury

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Disc Degeneration

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                          Disc Degeneration

 

 

Between each vertebra of the spinal column there is a semi-flexible disc that acts as a shock absorber for the body. The intervertebral discs help in load-bearing work, as well as any activity requiring movement or flexion of the spine. Over time, these discs naturally degrade (disc degeneration), but injuries, poor diet, weight gain, repetitive stress, or structural deformities can all accelerate the degenerative process. Sufficient trauma may cause the disc to rupture—a serious condition that can cause the two surrounding vertebrae to compress spinal nerves, causing extreme pain and possible muscle weakness and loss of sensation.  Expert doctors / neurosurgeons / spine surgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX have a vast amount of experience in treating patients with pain related to disc degeneration, degenerative disc disease , neck pain, low back pain, and sciatica.

If the progression of disc degeneration is significantly faster than normal, the patient may have a structural deformity that is contributing to the problem. A thorough medical exam is advised, during which the attending physician may advise several imaging tests to accurately diagnose the cause of the accelerated degeneration. Typically, the most advanced degeneration occurs in the lumbar and sacral regions of the spine (low on the spinal column), due to the constant load-bearing stress placed on these intervertebral discs in the standing and sitting positions.  Dr. Gary Kraus and Dr. Masaki Oishi, neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, find that most patients suffering from herniated disc of the lumbar spine and cervical spine, can be treated without the need for an operation.  Very often, the pain of the low back or neck pain, and any associated radicular symptoms such as sciatica, often improve without surgical treatment.

Patients who are extremely active in sports or manual labor may find that drastic changes to their daily lifestyle are necessary. A regimen of physical therapy will offer instruction in new lifting techniques, as well as core strengthening exercises that will help develop the muscles of the torso. As core strengthening improves, the network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the torso will begin to relieve some of the load-bearing stress from the spine.

More severe cases of disc degeneration may necessitate surgical procedures. Modern advancements in medical technology have improved the artificial disc to the point that it can mimic a natural disc both in function and durability. Other surgical procedures—such as spinal fusion—may be used in severe cases of disc degeneration to reduce the possibility of compressed spinal nerves. Many of these procedures are quite costly and have lengthy rehabilitation periods, however, so they are often advised only when absolutely necessary to improve the quality of a patient’s daily life.

Patients in Houston, as well as other parts of Texas and the United States, are welcome to contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, for treatment of their degenerative disc disease, or any other low back pain, neck pain, or sciatica.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute is very convenient to, and routinely treats patients in Houston, Katy, Memorial, Westchase, Inner Loop, Galleria, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Beaumont, Tomball, and Galveston.

http://www.spinehealth.com/degenerated-disc-disease.php

http://www.neckpain.com/cervical-degenerative-disc-disease-houston.html

http://www.spinesurgery.com/conditions/degenerative-disc-disease

Keywords: Houston, physical therapy, disc degeneration, spinal column, core strengthening, sciatica, Katy, Memorial, Westchase, Inner Loop, Galleria, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Beaumont, Tomball, and Galveston

degenerative disc disease houston sciatica low back pain

 

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Sciatica : Treatment in Houston

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      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.

sciatica treatment at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute, Houston TX

sciatica houston texas low back pain herniated disc

sciatica houston texas low back pain herniated disc

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Spinal Injury Rehabilitation

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     Spinal Injury Rehabilitation

 

spinal injury rehabilitation houston

spinal injury rehabilitation houston

If injured sufficiently, the regenerative capacity of the spinal cord—at least, on its own—is not nearly as great as other parts of the body. Trauma—from automobile accidents, sports injuries, or falls—can damage the nerves responsible for movement in parts of the body. Depending on where the spinal cord is injured, patients may experience paralysis of digits or limbs.

Fortunately, there are many options available for physical rehabilitation. Intense physical therapy from a licensed medical professional can help prevent further loss of mobility. Though the aftermath of a spinal cord injury may be terrible, patients who commit to their physical therapy regiments show demonstrably better mobility over patients who avoid the trials of physical rehabilitation.

New advances in medical technology—particularly techniques employing stem cells—offer patients, physicians, and medical researchers alike hope that even severe spinal cord injuries may someday be completely rehabilitated. Normally, the spinal cord lacks the ability to generate new specialized cells. Stem cells, on the other hand, are human developmental cells found in the umbilical cord that have yet to specialize to perform a specific function within the body. Researchers hope to reliably produce stem cells that can then become specialized cells within the spinal cord, restoring function, sensation, and patient mobility.

Apart from physical rehabilitation, there are also many emotional support networks in place, mainly classified by the extent of the patient’s injury. Physical therapy may help to preserve mobility, but patients and their families often struggle to come to terms with their new lifestyles. Support networks provide emotional therapy as well as an outlet for personal grief. Counseling can also provide families with information on how to adjust their homes and daily routines to better accommodate patients with spinal cord injuries.

Kraus Back and Neck Institute, Houston TX  Gary Kraus MD  Masaki Oishi Md PhD

Houston Back Injury and Houston Neck Injury Experts

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Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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         Spinal Muscular Atrophy / Houston

 

spinal muscular atrophy houston back pain

spinal muscular atrophy houston back pain

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a serious genetic condition in which the function of motor neurons is compromised, severely limiting a patient’s ability to move voluntary muscles. Normally, motor neurons act as communication devices, enabling voluntary muscles—such as the ones in a person’s legs, arms, stomach, and throat—to move. In a patient with spinal muscular atrophy, these motor neurons are attacked and begin to die off. Though SMA can be genetically inherited, there are many different types of the disease and symptoms can vary widely. Some children may have their breathing affected and have a very short life expectancy, while others may live a relatively normal life. If a patient’s spinal muscular atrophy affects their breathing, treatment becomes more difficult and the patient is overall significantly less likely to survive. SMA’s main classifications are focused on when a patient’s symptoms appear as well as how severely they affect daily life. Acute infantile and chronic infantile spinal muscular atrophy are usually the most serious, as muscles never get a chance to develop properly before motor neurons begin to die. Physicians are also unable to communicate properly with very young patients, making adjustments in the course of treatment much more difficult. Other major classifications include chronic juvenile SMA and adult onset SMA. Generally, the severity of SMA’s symptoms worsens the earlier it manifests in the developmental cycle. At this point, a cure for spinal muscular atrophy is beyond the reaches of medical science. Genetic counseling may prevent a possible solution, given that SMA is normally inherited through a recessive gene from the mother and father both. Though a cure for manifested SMA is currently not possible, there is a wide support network available for both patients and families. Specialized physical therapy regimens, training in first aid, and emotional therapy support groups all exist to help families overcome the difficulties of SMA patients’ daily lives. The physical therapy regimens are especially important, as they help patients maintain control and development of the muscles they are still able to use.

www.spinehealth.com

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Reducing Back Pain

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           Reducing Back Pain

 

 

reducing low back pain houston

reducing low back pain houston

Most often, low back pain is a product of one of the following scenarios: 1) improper lifting technique, which may tear muscle tissue or even herniate (displace) the intervertebral disk, 2) overuse or hypermobility, referring to intense labor or repetitive movement that puts increased wear on spinal disks and joints, or 3) low activity or hypomobility, which can lead to weight gain, as well as reducing the flow of nutrients to muscles and disks in the back.

Fortunately, physical therapy, rest, healthy dieting, and regular exercise can often have a long-term positive impact on low back pain levels. Those with acute or chronic back pain may be tempted to resist physical activity, but an approved regimen of physical therapy by a licensed physical therapist depends on regular implementation to be effective. Patients who opt out of the physical rehabilitation process may actually lose mobility as a result.

Core strengthening exercises play a fundamental role in most physical rehabilitation plans. The torso and spinal column are home to many different tendons, muscles, and ligaments that help support the weight of the body and provide stability during routine movement. All of these tissues work in tandem with the spinal column to participate in all load-bearing activities—running, walking, standing, and sitting among them. If core strengthening exercises are omitted from a patient’s physical rehabilitation regimen, the spinal column bears more weight than it otherwise would and low back pain is more likely to recur.

Patients with chronic back pain are advised to seek thorough medical consultation, given that their pain may be resulting from structural problems, deformities, or other abnormalities within the spinal column. Imaging techniques such as the X-ray, CT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging can reveal the integrity of the spinal column as well as allow physicians to design a more effective physical therapy regimen.

www.neurosurgery.com

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Spinal Acupuncture (Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Humble, Kingwood)

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       Spinal Acupuncture

 

 

acupuncture houston low back pain neck pain, sciatica, katy, woodlands, river oaks, memorial city

acupuncture houston low back pain neck pain, sciatica, katy, woodlands, river oaks, memorial city

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

 

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Physical Therapy For The Spine

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         Physical Therapy for the Spine / Houston

 

 

physical therapy for the spine

physical therapy for the spine

What is even more alarming is that many people believe that once low back pain manifests, back surgery is the only option capable of addressing the problem. Fortunately, physical therapy can often have extremely beneficial effects, including reducing or eliminating pain and restoring function and flexibility.

Methods used in physical therapy for the spine can vary widely depending on the patient’s condition and level of pain. Thorough medical consultation is advised to prevent misdiagnosis, as physical therapy for the wrong condition may not alleviate (and actually may worsen) the patient’s problems. Once a course of physical therapy has been prescribed, several subsequent visits may be necessary to ascertain a patient’s progress against an established recovery plan.

Physical therapy for the spine often includes multiple components to maximize the chances of reducing back pain over the long term. First, a licensed physical therapist instructs a patient in how movement, lifting, and exercise will be different as a result of the patient’s condition. Once a patient has appropriated these new motions, the physical therapist then implements a regimen of specific exercises catered to the patient’s condition. Common exercises often include light aerobics and core strengthening exercises, which increase the load-bearing capability of muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the spine. The load on the spinal column is subsequently reduced. Core strengthening is especially important, as it can contribute to improved performance in all athletic activities.

Other physical therapy options may include ice packs (which can reduce inflammation and sensation) and heating pads (which increase surface circulation). Exercises that minimize joint impact while simultaneously promoting circulation and flexibility—such as yoga or Tai Chi—are emphasized. Healthy dieting, nutritional supplements, and proper weight management are all also essential components of a successful physical therapy regimen. Proper nutrition will aid in muscle development, while weight management will minimize the incidence of low back pain as well as the possibility of recurrent structural problems.

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Sacral Vertebrae

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                         Sacral Vertebrae

 

 

sacrum low back pain

sacrum low back pain

They are also triangular, while the central portion of the sacrum is turned backward to allow more space in the pelvic cavity. Typically, there are nine discrete segments of the sacral vertebrae in early development. Five of these segments usually form the sacrum and sacral vertebrae, while the other four become the coccyx. Essentially, the orientation of the sacrum and its corresponding sacral vertebrae are partially responsible for how humans walk. If the sacrum were turned at a different orientation, bipedal motion would not be possible. Even a slight change to the orientation of the sacrum and corresponding sacroiliac joints would result in a vastly different walking motion.
Due to their orientation in articulation with the ilium (hip bone), the sacral vertebrae are susceptible to sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SJD). In SJD patients, pain is usually more prominent on one side of the lower back, though it may radiate down one leg or the other. Though the precise cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction may be difficult to pinpoint, typically SJD is caused by either 1) overworking the sacroiliac joints, such as in labor or hard exercise or 2) too little physical activity. These problems (hypermobility and hypomobility, respectively) can also cause problems in other parts of the spinal column and other regions of the body. Hypermobility tends to degrade the sacroiliac joints through increased wear, load-bearing, and stress, while hypomobility can deny the joints nutrition by reducing regular access to oxygen.
Care for the sacroiliac joints echoes care for the rest of the spinal column and the body in general—regular exercise, rest, healthy dieting, and weight management. Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the chances of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, while regular exercise helps expose sacroiliac joints to increased levels of oxygen and nutrition.

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