Archive for September, 2014

Spinal Nerve Compression: When to Seek Medical Consultation review by KBNI Houston, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Kingwood, Humble, Memorial City, Tomball

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Spinal Nerve Compression: When to Seek Medical Consultation

Spinal Nerve Compression: When to Seek Medical Consultation review by KBNI Houston

Spinal Nerve Compression: When to Seek Medical Consultation review by KBNI Houston

Housed within the spinal canal, the spinal nerves provide sensation to most of the body. Generally, compressed spinal nerves happen as a result of age-related degeneration of the spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae). As we grow older, spinal discs become thinner, harder, and less pliable, reducing their ability to absorb the stresses of everyday movement. Spinal nerves may also be compressed through serious trauma, such as improper lifting techniques or accidents.

Back pain related to spinal nerve compression is generally quite sharp and significantly reduces mobility in patients. Immediate treatment options include over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which often reduce pain levels enough for the patient to explore other options for treatment. Physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor represent both a short-term and long-term solution, as strong muscles in the torso and along the spinal column will assist spinal discs in bearing the body’s stresses. This in turn will reduce the incidence of compressed spinal nerves.

spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston,  Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball,  Port Arthur, Conroe

spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball, Port Arthur, Conroe

Occasionally, more conservative treatments like physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor and pain medication aren’t enough to treat a patient’s nerve-related back pain. When a patient experiences muscle weakness along with nerve pain, it’s time to explore other treatment options. Physicians will likely order imaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging, x-rays) to confirm that spinal nerves are being compressed, as well as what the offending structure (e.g. bone spur) might be. After thorough analysis, physicians can then make recommendations on augmenting physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor to better suit the patient’s pain levels or explore other options entirely. Major back surgery may be necessary to mechanically decompress  the offending nerves or to remove the obstruction responsible for compression.

If patients are regularly experiencing compressed spinal nerves outside the context of heavy lifting, see your doctor. Provide detailed, truthful information regarding your work history, lifestyle, and exercise habits. Be sure to account for any recreational activities that may also have been responsible, as the physician can only make an accurate prescription for course of treatment if he or she has all the relevant information. Combined with the results of your imaging exams, physicians will then direct your course of treatment according to the severity of the nerve compression. Back surgery or surgery for herniated disc may be an option, but it is possible that more conservative treatments will mediate your back pain to the point where more extensive treatment will not be needed. It is advised that you immediately contact your physician if your pain becomes sharper and more constant, or if you experience muscle weakness or loss of bladder control. All of these issues can indicate impending nerve damage.

Neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX have significant experiencing treating pain and nerve compression.  When conservative measures fail, or if otherwise indicated, the latest techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery are used to help relieve pain.

spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston,  Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball,  Port Arthur, Conroe

spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston, Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball, Port Arthur, Conroe

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE

……. KBNI VIDEO on Back and Neck Pain Treatment : Don’t Live in Fear and Pain

 

 

Keywords: spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston,

Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball,  Port Arthur, Conroe

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Mobility during Recovery from Back Surgery review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Sugarland, Woodlands, Spring, Kingwood, Memorial City

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MOBILITY DURING RECOVERY FROM BACK SURGERY

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston

Normally, back surgery is treated as a last resort if more conservative treatments (i.e., physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs, facet joint injections, etc.) have failed to adequately reduce pain levels and restore mobility. Physicians and patients alike should approach back surgery as a calculated risk, one taken to maximize long-term health and mobility while giving the patient the best chance at consistently low-to-moderate pain levels during recovery. Post-operative care is a different matter entirely, however, as many patients aren’t prepared for the loss in mobility that comes after major back surgery. Large incisions, which in many back procedures are necessary to give the surgeon vision of the damaged portion of the spine, also can severely damage muscles and other soft tissue along the spinal column. This trauma greatly reduces patient mobility during post-operative care, as the muscles have essentially been rendered unable to do their jobs.

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

For patients, compromised mobility can present maddening challenges during post-operative care, not to mention complications. For example, surgical site infection (SSI) occurs from contamination of the surgical site, either during the operation itself or at some point during recovery. SSI is particularly dangerous if the contamination is internal, such as a contaminated plate or screw that has been implanted to stabilize the spinal column (lumbar fusion) . Patients will most likely be unable to adequately check their own incision sites for signs of infection, so family members and friends may be needed for not only this task, but to change the patient’s dressing as well.

Physical therapy / chiropractic therapy during post-operative care for back surgery is generally focused on preserving long-term mobility. If the muscles along the spinal column that were damaged by the surgeon’s incisions are not adequately worked during recovery, patients may soon find themselves incapable of bending and twisting beyond the physician’s weight-related restrictions. In other words, avoiding physical therapy can potentially result in a permanent reduction in range of motion. On the other hand, too much activity can de-stabilize implanted devices and re-tear healing muscles, prolonging the healing process and increasing the likelihood for additional corrective surgeries.

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

Physicians will likely recommend several checkup visits during post-operative care in order to accurately gauge your progress and make necessary adjustments to your physical therapy regimen. Some back pain is normal and expected, but if your pain changes suddenly or begins to radiate through your ribs, legs, or arms, seek medical attention. Radiating back pain and muscle weakness often signals spinal nerve compression, which over the long-term may cause nerve damage and permanent loss of sensation. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help mediate pain levels, though during the initial healing process, physicians may authorize stronger prescription pain medication.

Physician experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX have significant experience at taking care of patients with back problems, back injuries and other sources of back and neck pain.  They frequently see patients who are suffering from the symptom of neck pain, low back pain, and mid back pain, and have never received imaging studies of the spine.  Physicians at the KBNI will order the appropriate spinal imaging studies of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine as needed, and review the results with the patient.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

Keywords: back surgery, back pain, physical therapy, pain levels, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Cervical Disc Replacement, Houston, Katy, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas

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CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT

cervical disc, spinal disc, pain levels, neck pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble

cervical disc, spinal disc, pain levels, neck pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble

The spinal discs (shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) help us manage the shocks and stresses of daily movement. Our spines are heavily involved in most kinds of motion (sitting, standing, bending, lifting, twisting, etc.). As such, the facet joints that link our vertebrae as well as the spinal discs between them need to be extremely durable and operate with low back and neck pain levels during normal motion. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Spinal structural deformities, trauma, heavy lifting, and inactivity can all play their part in compromising parts of the spinal column. The natural aging process compounds these factors due to the fact that spinal discs naturally degenerate over time. Spinal and cervical discs become thinner, harder, and less pliable as we age, and as a result they are far less capable of managing the stresses of daily life. We are also more likely to experience back and neck pain as a result of these changes.

All of these problems may create problems in the cervical discs in our necks. Since the neck is routinely engaged in movement, compromised cervical discs can severely affect mobility by causing pain during routine motion. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies patients can use to mediate pain levels. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help mediate pain levels while restoring enough mobility for patients to explore other treatment options. Physical therapy focuses on developing muscles along the spinal column and surrounding the neck to offer support to cervical discs and relieve some of the weight they would otherwise have to bear during routine movement.

For more serious cases, such as severe structural deformity, trauma, or extreme neck pain not resolved by more conservative treatments, cervical disc replacement or cervical fusion may be the best option, depending upon the specific findings, recommendations of the surgeon, and desires of the patient. Since this surgery may be both serious and financially costly, physicians typically do not recommend it unless the compromised cervical disc is threatening other functions in the body (causing a loss of sensation, impinging on nearby spinal nerves, causing muscle weakness, etc.). Bone spurs and compromised cervical discs are the most common causes and physicians operate primarily to maintain the patient’s long-term health, as opposed to simply seeking to reduce pain levels.  Of course, indications for surgery may vary from patient to patient.

Recovery for cervical disc replacement, like many types of spinal surgery, can be brief to more prolonged . Rest, a healthy diet, and regimens of physical therapy are necessary to re-develop damaged muscles and relieve some of the pressure on cervical discs. Your physician will likely order several checkups to maintain a sense of your progress and to readjust your course of treatment as needed.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

Keywords: cervical disc, spinal disc, pain levels, neck pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Infections, Pain and Back Surgery review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Galleria, Pearland, Kingwood, Spring, Memorial City, TMC

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Infections, Pain and Back Surgery Review

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

Physicians often advise back surgery as a last resort when more conservative treatment methods (anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, physical therapy) have failed to adequately reduce pain levels. Back surgery for pain is not only costly, but also occasionally  necessitates a long period of post-operative care during which patients must work to re-develop muscles damaged by the back surgery incisions. Patients often head into surgery aware of the recovery period, but they also need to prepare for the low but distinct possibility of surgical site infection during post-operative care.  Fortunately, infections from back surgery are an infrequent occurrence, but they must still be considered, watched, and prevented.

The extensiveness of some back surgeries may require deep or long incisions to provide the surgeon with adequate vision and access to damaged spinal discs or nerves. Major back surgery also goes hand-in-hand with a significant number of implanted devices, such as metal screws or plates ( back surgery fusion or spinal fusion )to stabilize a compromised spinal column. Though these materials are required to be sterile prior to surgery, they can still potentially become contaminated in various ways. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are bacterial populations that have developed resistances to several conventional (and even some last-resort) antibiotics ( bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), represent an increasingly dire problem for hospitals worldwide. In cases of major back surgery, the risk of contamination is increased due to the physical procedure itself: internal parts of the body remain exposed to the surrounding air for several hours. Any bacteria that have survived on the operating staff or on the implantation devices are capable of causing problems for the patient during post-operative care.

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

Patients who want to minimize their recovery time and pain,  as well as reduce the possibility of secondary back surgery will regularly monitor their incision sites for signs of back surgery infection. Back surgery patients occasionally do not have much mobility during post-operative care (especially if the surgery was extensive, like a spinal fusion or artificial spinal disc implant), so patients will need to communicate their needs and pain issues to family and friends. Have them check for redness, swelling, pus, and foul odors around the incision site. Patients must pay  attention to their pain levels and note any sudden or drastic changes.

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston

Risk factors of the patient which increase the risk of infection during back surgery include smoking, diabetes, malnutrition, obesity, and poor personal hygiene.   Hand washing is important before handling a wound.  In a hospital, all visitors, nurses and physicians should wash their hands before entering a patient’s room, as preventative care.   Patients who have any open sores or cuts on their body should alert the doctors and nurses before the back surgery, as the surgeon may potentially choose to cancel the operation until the open lesions heal.  If a patients suffers an infection post operatively, all visitors, nurses and physicians should wear protective attire upon entering the room.

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

It’s also possible that a patient’s  infection may be entirely internal, without many symptoms around their incision site. They should monitor  pain levels, and check in with their physician if they  experience nausea, vomiting, chills, or fever. Depending on the location and severity of the infection, physicians will likely prescribe a course of treatment involving one or more courses of different antibiotics. In some cases, both surgical site infections and internal infections have the potential to reduce healing during post-operative care. Secondary surgeries may be necessary to correct the problems the infections create, and help relieve the pain they create.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

infections, back surgery, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

Keywords: infections, back surgery, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Spinal Facet Joint Pain presented by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Galleria, Pearland, Kingwood, Spring, Memorial City, TMC

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SPINAL FACET JOINT PAIN

spinal facet joint pain

spinal facet joint pain

A facet joint is a link between our vertebrae  within our spinal column, and can be the cause of pain within the spine. Regarding spinal anatomy, their ends are covered in cartilage, which allows for the relatively pain-free articulation of the spine during routine motion (sitting, standing, twisting, bending, lifting, walking, etc.). Over time, however, the cartilage covering the facet joints breaks down naturally as we age. Heavy lifting, poor weight management, improper lifting technique, and too much sedentary activity can all accelerate the breakdown of facet joint cartilage, increasing the chances of compressing nearby spinal nerves and causing extremely sharp back pain.  The spinal column can be the source of mechanical pain.

In many cases, imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging) will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of a facet joint-related spinal  back pain. Your doctor will have to first rule out muscle tears and muscle spasms caused by oxygen-starvation in your back muscles (often occurring as the result of too much time spent in a sitting or standing position, which keeps muscles in the back in a highly tensed state). While a compromised facet joint is certainly a cause for concern, by no means is the problem untreatable. Many patients are able to successfully mediate their pain levels at home, without having to explore the possibility of spinal back surgery.

spinal facet joint pain

spinal facet joint pain

In order to treat back pain caused by degenerating facet joints, most patients effectively mediate their pain levels using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Pain medication usually restores enough temporary mobility to explore other long-term treatments, such as physical therapy. Patients may use a physical therapy or chiropractor / chiropractic regimen to develop muscles along the spinal column, which in turn will relieve load stress from compromised spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) and facet joints alike. During your physical therapy or chiropractor / chiropractic regimen, several checkups will likely be necessary in order for your physician to accurately gauge your progress and recommend changes to your course of treatment.

If the cartilage has worn to the point where nearby spinal nerves are at risk, back surgery may be necessary to preserve a patient’s long-term health and mobility. Regular spinal nerve compression can lead to muscle weakness, sharp back pain, and eventual nerve damage and loss of sensation in other parts of the body. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine if parts of your spinal discs or facet joints are responsible. If back / spine surgery is needed, your physicians can offer excellent advice on your post-operative care period, including incremental increases in physical therapy to preserve (and in some cases improve) patient mobility.

 facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

Generally, spinal facet joint pain can be diagnosed by having a physician (spine surgeon, neurosurgeon, pain specialist) perform a facet joint block.  This procedure “numbs” the nerves (medial branch of nerves)  traveling to the facet joint.  If the block is successful at relieving the pain, it can be concluded that the pain is coming from the facet joint.  At that point, a more permanent facet joint rhizotomy, in which the nerves to the facet are destroyed (with thermal coagulation, also known as a rhizotomy) , may be of good benefit (after undergoing two trails of a facet joint nerve block).  A fusion of the spine (ALIF, TLIF, XLIF, PLIF, DLIF) can also help with pain coming from the facet joint, as the fusion will immobilize the joint.

Physician experts at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX, have significant experience in diagnosing and treating spinal facet joint pain.  The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

 facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont

Keywords: facet joint, spinal, pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sugarland, Sealy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Galleria, Humble, Conroe, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Memorial City, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain and Disc Myths by by KBNI Houston, Katy, Spring, Kingwood, Conroe, Woodlands, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center TMC

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Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain and Disc Myths, Houston

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston

Lower back pain and neck pain are incredibly common afflictions in the modern workplace, but many members of the public entertain harmful myths about how to treat them. For example, a large portion of the public believes that rest is the most effective way to treat chronic lower back pain or neck pain. While rest is definitely a component of the solution, long periods of sedentary activity can actually lengthen recovery time and reduce long-term mobility. Most mild to moderate lower back pain and neck pain is more effectively mediated by exercise.

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston

Part of the rest myth may stem from yet another myth perpetuated about the spine: that it is weak or somehow fragile. In truth, the spine is an incredibly strong, durable part of the body that hosts a complicated system of muscles, ligaments, bones, and spinal disc (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae). Rather than be compromised by exercise, the spine thrives on it. We need regular cardiovascular exercise, stretching, and strength conditioning in order to optimally maintain our spinal column as we age, given that we undergo a number of natural degenerative processes as we grow older. The cartilage on the ends of our facet joints (the joints that link our vertebrae and allow for the articulation of the spinal column) naturally degrades in quality, and this process is accelerated by extra weight and lack of exercise. Our spinal disc become thinner, harder, drier, and less capable of bearing stress during our routine movements. Both of these changes contribute to an increased incidence of compressed spinal nerves, which can cause severe lower back pain and compromise mobility.

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

Due to these natural degenerative processes, many people may feel that a decline in their mobility is inevitable and that severe lower back pain and neck pain must correlate with severe structural damage in the spinal column. Fortunately, chronic lower back pain and neck pain most often does not necessarily mean that a patient’s spine is severely damaged. Some patients may have relatively little damage within the spinal column but still suffer from debilitating pain because of higher sensitivity to pressure placed on the spinal nerve roots. For example, if the tough exterior of a spinal disc wears to the point where a bit of the soft inner material of the disc protrudes through a hole in the exterior (hernia), patients will have a wide variety of responses based on individual pain tolerance as well as sensitivity of the spinal nerves themselves. Seek a full physical examination from a medical profession to confirm the source of your back pain and begin an effective course of treatment.

Physicians at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI), located in Houston, TX, specialize in treating patients with lower back pain and neck pain.  The majority of patients can be treated, and achieve significant improvement in their lower back pain and neck pain, without the need of an operation.  When surgery on the disc or spine is needed, neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute offer the most current and advanced techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery.

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at

…….  281-713-6296

…….  Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an appointment online

……. KBNI VIDEO on Back and Neck Pain Treatment : Don’t Live in Fear and Pain

Keywords: lower back pain, neck pain, disc, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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Epidural Injections, Epidural Steroid Injections, ESI by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center TMC

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Epidural Steroid Injections

epidural injections, epidural steroid injections, ESI, Houston

epidural injections, epidural steroid injections, ESI, Houston

Epidural Injections, also known as epidural steroid injections or ESI injections, are often utilized in the management of low back pain, neck pain, or leg or arm pain.  They may be used before or after other treatments have been tried.  When conservative treatments (over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, rest) have failed to adequately mediate a patient’s back pain, physicians may then turn to other means. Epidural injections are one such measure, depending on the location, severity, duration, and root cause of a patient’s back pain. In order to perform an epidural injection, however, the presiding physician (typically a pain specialist, neurosurgeon, orthopedic spine surgeon,  interventional radiologist, anesthesiologist, or physiatrist) will need to narrow the possible causes of a patient’s back pain through extensive imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.). Epidural steroid injections can be used in the lumbar spine and epidural injections can also be used in the cervical spine.

epidural injections, epidural steroid injections, ESI, Houston

epidural injections, epidural steroid injections, ESI, Houston

During the epidural injection procedure itself, the patient is face-down on a special table. Occasionally a mild sedative may be necessary, but most back pain patients do not require it. The physician then cleans and numbs the injection sites around the spine (these normally correspond to the most damaged parts of the spinal column, though not always), utilizing sterile technique.  After the injection sites have been prepared, the physician utilizes a fluoroscope, which is a type of x-ray procedure that produces live video, allowing the physician to respond in real-time to the structures inside the spinal column. This reduces the incidence of physician error as well as provides the physician with visual information regarding the most effective injection sites to help preserve a patient’s long-term mobility in addition to lowering back pain levels.

Epidural injections / epidural steroid injections / ESI may be given traditionally through two different routes in the lumbar spine (understanding the spine and lumbar anatomy is important). One route of the epidural steroid injection is known as a translaminar ESI.  During the translaminar epidural steroid injection, the needle is placed between the lamina (covering of the spinal canal) into the epidural space.  This is typically done using what is know as a “ loss of resistance technique.” During this technique, the physician pushes air or liquid (using a low resistance syringe known as a pulsator syrings) as he / she advances the needle, under fluoroscopic guidance, between the spinal lamina, and into the epidural space.  Once this space is reached, the physician will aspirate (pull back on the syringe) to make sure that no cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid is withdrawn, which would indicate a cerebrospinal fluid leak.  Assuming this is negative, the physician then injects contrast dye around the thecal sac, and it this shows a good image, he / she places the anesthetic and steroid agent around the spinal dural canal, and removes the needle.

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Another type of epidural injection / epidural steroid injection / ESI may be given through what is known as the transforaminal approach.  During this approach, the physician advances a needle, under fluoroscopic guidance, past the neural foramen through which the nerve leaves the spinal canal, and into the space known as Kambin’s triangle.  In Kambin’s triangle, the exiting nerve of the lumbar spine can be found.  Again, after aspirating the needle, and finding no return of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), dye is instilled around the nerve to confirm proper epidural flow, and then the anesthetic agent and steroid are instilled around the nerve root.

Sometimes epidural injections are necessary given the physical changes in the spinal column as we grow older. Our spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) gradually become thinner, harder, and less capable of bearing the stresses of everyday motion. This shrinks the distance between the vertebrae in our spinal column, increasing the chances for compressed spinal nerves. Since our spinal nerves are located very near the discs and vertebrae, patients with advanced degeneration in their spinal discs often have a smaller range of motion in order to avoid repeated nerve compression, which causes extreme back pain.

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epidural injections, epidural steroid injections, ESI, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston

Sometimes epidural injections may be supplemented with nerve block injections in order to give the physician more information about what may be causing the patient’s back pain. During a nerve block injection, specific nerves are targeted with anesthetics and steroids. If the patient experiences complete relief from their back pain, the doctor knows that the correct group of spinal nerves has been targeted. From there, physicians can make inferences about the best site for long-term anti-inflammatory drug injections. If none of these procedures provide the patient with meaningful relief from their back pain, physicians may then consider back surgery as a corrective measure.

Physicians at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) (located in Houston TX)  have significant expertise at performing spinal epidural steroid injections.  They incorporate a philosophy of practice which tries to treat a patient with conservative approaches whenever possible, frequently helping patients to avoid the need of surgery.  When a surgery is needed to help pain, neurosurgeon experts at the KBNI have the latest skills in minimally invasive microneurosurgery of the spine.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

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Holistic Acupuncture and Back Pain by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Sugarland, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center TMC

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acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston

acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston

Holistic Acupuncture and Back Pain in Houston

Acupuncture is longstanding tradition in Eastern medicine.  Acupuncture is considered holistic medicine.  An acupuncture expert (acupuncturist)  inserts several thin needles just under the surface of the patient’s skin in various pre-determined positions. These positions correspond to the 2,000+ pressure points that acupuncturists believe correspond to 20 primary pathways (called meridians in the theory of acupuncture). The basic principle of holistic acupuncture is that the body has several natural energy pathways (meridians) and if one or more of these pathways are blocked, qi (life-force) cannot flow properly and a variety of negative conditions result. In traditional Eastern medicine, qi’s proper flow can be restored through stimulating key points on the body with acupuncture needles.  Holistic acupuncture has been used to treat low back pain.

acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston

acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston

As one might imagine, the efficacy (ability of a treatment or drug to achieve a positive result on a consistent basis in many patients) of holistic acupuncture has not been proven in Western evidence-based medicine. Healthcare in the Western world is organized around the principle of treating specific conditions with specific treatments and / or drugs. Doctors first conduct physical exams to narrow possible causes (such as for the origin of a patient’s back pain) and then, if necessary, additional specialist opinions or additional testing confirms or reassesses the diagnosis. From that point, a patient receives a specific course of treatment designed to cure him or her of the condition.

Acupuncture, on the other hand, takes a holistic approach. Rather than focus on treating a specific condition in an exact, proven way, holistic acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system in hopes that nerve activity will have a positive effect on personal well-being. While these claims have not been proven by evidence-based medicine, acupuncture does succeed in stimulating the central nervous system. Many patients have given reports of feeling energized and relaxed as the needles stimulate activity in the brain and spinal cord. This practice may be effective for some back pain patients who suffer from increased muscle tension throughout the neck, shoulders, and spinal column. Stimulating nerves along tensed muscles can promote blood flow, which brings much-needed oxygen and nutrition as well as helps to prevent muscle spasms.

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Though the holistic claims made for acupuncture by Eastern medicine may be tempting to take at face value, patients are advised to conduct further testing to ensure they do not have a more serious condition. Back pain patients who experience relief from holistic acupuncture are not likely to have a severe structural defect within the spinal column, but it is important to confirm the diagnosis of back pain with a complete physical exam by a Western physician. Additional imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scans, x rays) can reveal if there are underlying structural issues which need to be addressed with more serious treatment.

There is no question that the ability to treat back pain, neck pain, and other types of pain with a variety of modalities is beneficial to the patient.  Although traditional Western Medicine is often very beneficial, a more holistic Eastern Medicine approach has a  role in the health care system.  At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX, a variety of modality and treatment options are available to help patients suffering from low back pain, neck pain, and other pain disorders affecting the body.  Expert neurosurgeons at the KBNI utilize non-surgical options when appropriate, often keeping surgical intervention as a measure of last resort, when other conservative methods fail.

The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center  (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

 

Keywords: acupuncture, holistic, back pain, Houston, Woodlands, Katy, Memorial City, Sugarland, Texas Medical Center, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas, TX, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin

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