Conditions

Pain in the back and spine can become so debilitating which can have a devastating impact on your quality of life. Our Minimally Invasive SpineCARE® team has developed a deep understanding of back and spine pain by caring for and treating thousands of patients. If you are experiencing chronic neck, back & spine pain, whether from injury, disease or previous treatment, we can provide the optimum solution and relief that you need.

Trust that you are making the right decision.

Aging, as well as daily wear and tear are some of the major factors that can contribute to neck or back pain. Other major factors such as accidents, sports injuries, lifting heavy objects in an improper manner, as well as a genetic predisposition for developing problems with joints, bones, and discs are also major contributors to chronic neck and back pain.

Dr. Douglas Won and his team want to help you successfully address your neck, back & spine conditions as quickly as possible. Our team of experienced specialists has successfully treated thousands of patients using a comprehensive approach and precise diagnostic technology.

Micro invasive surgery has revolutionized spinal surgery, enabling surgeons to perform procedures through small incisions, using a tiny camera and specially designed small instruments. This type of surgery results in fewer traumas to the surrounding tissue and muscles, reduced blood loss, thus enabling quicker healing, faster recovery and rapid pain relief.

Our team’s highly-acclaimed back and spine specialists, pain management specialists, and rehabilitation professionals have vast experience in successfully treating a wide variety of back and neck conditions, including:

What is Spinal Arthritis?

Cartilage is a firm but flexible type of tissue that provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. Located between the joints, cartilage can become susceptible to damage, particularly as we grow older and our bodies progress through the natural process of aging.

The term arthritis means joint inflammation. It describes a family of musculoskeletal diseases that occur when cartilage in the joints is worn down and eventually disappears as the result of aging, injury or trauma. This inflammation causes the stiffness and pain typically associated with this condition.

spinal arthritis

Some forms of arthritis include cervical arthritis, which affects the neck and upper back, while lumbar arthritis affects the lower back and pelvic region. Other common forms are:

  • Osteoarthritis

    This type of arthritis affects any joint, but occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, as well as fingers. In Osteoarthritis, cartilage breaks down causing pain, swelling and problems when moving the joint. Osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million American men and women.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. As the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissues, it causes inflammation and swelling in the lining of the joints which can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. This causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased movement of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect organs such as the eyes, lungs, heart, blood vessels, and skin.

  • Juvenile arthritis

    There are many types of juvenile arthritis, all of which develop in children under the age of 16 and share many common symptoms like pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth. Some types of juvenile arthritis may affect the musculoskeletal system and cause complications involving the eyes, skin, digestive system, and muscles. Also referred to as pediatric rheumatic disease, juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks the body instead of protecting it. No exact cause is known but it is believed that it may be related to genetics, certain infections, and environmental triggers.

 

While there are many types of arthritis, each one can be extremely debilitating if no proper treatment is present. It is necessary to obtain a clear and comprehensive diagnosis of your arthritic difficulties in order to achieve optimal healing, as each type of arthritis requires a distinct care regimen.

 

Spinal Arthritis: Causes

An exact cause for arthritis is unknown, but research suggests that many factors contribute to the presence and severity of arthritis, such as:

  • Age: As we grow older, we lose bone mass, which makes us more likely to contract arthritis and related conditions.
  • Gender: Women are especially prone to arthritis, while gout is most commonly experienced by men.
  • Loss of cartilage in joints: Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones within joints deteriorates.
  • Bone spurs: Tiny, abnormal outgrowths of bone can accentuate strain upon the joint, causing pain.
  • Inflammation and swelling: When a joint becomes inflamed, it is more likely for chronic arthritis to appear or accelerate.
  • Genetic predisposition: Men and women with a family history of arthritis are more likely to suffer from it themselves, especially as they age.
  • Infection or injury: If a joint has been damaged as the result of an infection or a traumatic injury, cartilage tissue may break down more quickly.
  • Obesity: Obese individuals are more likely to contract arthritis than others.

By taking care of yourself and doing exercises that help strengthen your joints, you may be able to keep arthritis at bay. Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent the development of severe arthritis if you believe you are prone or have a genetic predisposition to this medical condition.

 

Spinal Arthritis: Symptoms

Individuals with arthritis may begin to notice pain and discomfort either gradually or suddenly. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of arthritis present. Some of the most common factors of arthritis include:

  • Back pain that comes and goes without warning
  • Spinal stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • Pain, tenderness and numbness in the neck, shoulders, hips, knees or heels
  • Lower back pain that radiates through the buttocks, thighs or pelvic area
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • A “crunching” feeling or the sound of bone against bone
  • Limited mobility and difficulty bending or walking
  • Redness around joints
  • Fatigue
  • A loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Slight fever
  • Joint deformity

If you begin to notice arthritic symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you receive the care you need, the more likely it is that you will be able to maintain and improve your quality of life.

 

Our Minimally Invasive Approach

If you are living with arthritis pain, know that you are not alone. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, we have a team of experienced specialists committed to providing you with safe and compassionate care. From diagnosis to treatment, our main priority is your health and well-being.

 

What to Expect on Your First Consult?

One of our experts will carefully evaluate your medical history and physical state in order to identify the type and severity of your arthritis. In some cases, certain diagnostic tests may be necessary, such as a blood panel, extraction of joint fluid, X-rays, and MRI or CT scans. Based upon this information, we will create a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs. Also, and depending on the underlying cause of your arthritis, this care plan may include conservative methods such as over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, heat, specialized exercises, physical therapy, and injections.

If you are suffering from painful bone spurs, our Board-certified surgeons can remove them through an advanced yet minimally invasive procedure designed to reduce trauma to surrounding areas, and shorten your recovery time. We also offer a number of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries to support or replace joints that have lost the majority of their cartilage. When compared to traditional open surgeries, minimally invasive operations typically yield additional benefits that include:

  • Quicker recovery times, allowing patients to return to work and other daily activities faster
  • A reduced risk of scarring, high volumes of blood loss, and trauma to nearby tissues
  • Less pain during and after your procedure
  • Fewer potential complications

Even though we specialize in minimally invasive procedures, we also offer open surgeries. The surgical approach used will depend upon the preferences of the patient, as well as several defining factors. Individuals who are obese or who have significant adhesions (scar tissue) from a past surgery may not be able to undergo a minimally invasive operation.


 

Bone Spurs

Often referred to as osteophytes, bone spurs are benign, atypical growths of bone that develop along the spine. These are usually smooth, sharp and rounded protrusions, and, in most cases, they form in and around joints, where bones meet and connect.

When the body senses that a joint is inflamed, cells deposit extra bone in the area to compensate for lost bone mass or cartilage. This defense mechanism often backfires by creating harmful bone spurs instead of new, beneficial bone.

Although most bone spurs don’t cause pain, these can place additional pressure on surrounding bones and soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and sensitive nerves. Bone spurs can also begin to interfere with nearby systems, which can cause debilitating symptoms to follow. The upper, middle and lower spine, hip, knee, shoulder, heel, jaw, foot, toes, hands, and wrists are regions commonly affected by bone spurs.

 Bone Spurs

 

Bone Spurs: Causes

Bone spurs commonly develop because of continued strain on a joint or the rubbing of one bone against another due to a lack of protective cartilage. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of bone spurs. As this disease breaks down the cartilage around your bones, the body attempts to repair itself by depositing additional bone in the affected area. Excess bone accumulates, thus providing the development of bone spurs.

There are a number of factors can cause or exacerbate bone spurs besides osteoarthritis, these include:

  • Inflammation surrounding a degenerative disc in the vertebrae
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Bone breaks or fractures
  • Aging
  • Being overweight
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Improper posture
  • Misalignment
  • Poor footwear
  • Sports injuries and other accidents
  • Malnutrition
  • Joint damage
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Congenital conditions

If you believe you may be at risk of developing bone spurs, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent it and maintaining healthy joints. Living a balanced lifestyle, stretching, staying active and physically fit, keeping a proper posture, and exercising caution when lifting heavy objects or participating in strenuous activities may help you avoid experiencing bone spurs and other joint-related difficulties.

 

Bone Spurs: Symptoms

Symptoms associated with a bone spur may develop gradually or appear suddenly. Pain usually intensifies with physical activity and becomes more chronic over time. The following complications may indicate the presence of bone spurs:

  • Pinched nerves in the spine (radiculopathy)
  • Back or neck pain
  • Spinal cord compression (myelopathy)
  • Torn tendons or ligaments
  • Dull pain that becomes worse when standing or walking
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Problems with balance
  • Radiating pain
  • A limited range of motion or difficulty extending limbs
  • Localized swelling, tenderness or redness
  • Joints that appear knobby
  • Decreased blood flow
  • Tendonitis (the inflammation of the rotator cuff in the shoulder)
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Weakness throughout the arms and legs resulting from an aggravated nerve root
  • Mild or severe pain throughout the affected area and associated extremities

As a patient, receiving timely treatment is key to preventing further joint damage. In addition, the symptoms typically attributed to bone spurs can also be evidence of dangerous medical conditions, such as cancer and high blood pressure. If you believe you may be suffering from bone spurs, seek medical attention so you can achieve optimal healing and avoid other complications. If you or a loved one is experiencing bowel or bladder control problems, please call 911 immediately as this may signify a life-threatening medical emergency.

 

Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

You don’t have to live with the pain and discomfort associated with bone spurs. Our team of skilled spinal experts at Minimally Invasive SpineCARE® helps patients find safe and compassionate solutions to this condition.

During your initial consult, one of our experienced surgeons will carefully evaluate your medical history and physical state to obtain a clear and comprehensive diagnosis. If there is a chance you are suffering from bone spurs, your doctor may request X-rays or other imaging tests to confirm their presence. Based upon this information, we will recommend treatment options specially designed for your needs.

Additionally, conservative treatments such as: professional massages, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, alternating hot and cold treatments, cortisone injections, over-the-counter pain relievers, and other medications can sometimes help manage the pain associated with bone spurs. If a bone spur is causing symptoms, however, it usually needs to be removed through surgery.

Our acclaimed surgeons offer a number of traditional open surgeries and minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures to remove bone spurs. When compared with open operations, minimally invasive surgeries typically yield a variety of benefits such as:

  • Less pain associated with the procedure
  • Faster recovery times that allow patients to return to their daily life faster
  • A reduced risk of scarring, trauma to surrounding tissues, and high volumes of blood loss
  • Fewer potential post-surgery complications

A minimally invasive bone spur removal is performed through tiny incisions. Important muscles surrounding the spine are left unharmed, which allows the patient to make a full recovery quickly. While recovery times do vary, most men and women are cleared to return to their everyday activities within days or weeks. Full physical activities can sometimes be resumed in as little as a month, though this can vary depending on your unique situation. In order to maximize the positive effects of your surgery, your doctor will discuss different strategies with you before any surgery is performed.

Depending on the preferences of the patient, as well as determining factors such as obesity, the presence of adhesions (scar tissue), and past surgeries, the surgical approach to be used will vary. While conservative treatments can help in the alleviation of minor ailments, the surgical removal of bone spurs often provides definitive and final relief for patients.


 

What is a Bulging disc?

Discs are the shock-absorbing rings of fibrocartilage and glycoprotein that separate vertebrae in your spine. These facilitate movement at each spinal level. As we get older or strain the disc, through improper posture or injury, the disc’s shell can weaken and lose its shape, causing the disc to bulge into the spinal canal. This is what we call a bulging disc. As the disc moves, its inner, liquid-like nucleus begins to balloon toward the weakest point in its hard outer casing.

Bulging disc image

Although there is typically little or no pain associated with a bulging disc, the affected disc may eventually suffer a herniation, which means that its inner nucleus may leak through the damaged shell causing pain and further complications. Bulging discs may also place pressure on nearby nerves, leading to serious discomfort and, in some cases, severe and chronic pain.

 

Bulging Discs: Symptoms

The symptoms associated with bulging discs generally begin to emerge only when the disc sets other problems into motion. Here are some indicators:

  • Pain or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands or fingers can signal a bulging disc in the cervical (upper spine) area. If you begin to have trouble walking, feel heavy in the legs or lose motor skills, seek emergency assistance as this may be evidence of life-threatening damage to the spinal cord.
  • Pain in the upper back that radiates to the chest or stomach can signal a thoracic (mid-spine) bulging disc. It is important to determine the root of these symptoms as they may also warn of heart, lung or gastrointestinal failure.
  • Muscle spasms and lower back pain may be evidence of a bulging disc in the lumbar (lower back) region. Because this area holds so much of the upper body’s weight, approximately 90% of all bulging discs occur in the lumbar spine. Sometimes this discomfort spreads to the buttocks, thighs and feet. When a bulging disc pressures the sciatic nerve, it can result in sciatica. This condition usually manifests as pain that emanates down one leg, but not the other. If you experience a loss of bladder control, seek medical assistance immediately as this may mean a bulging disc is compressing the cauda equina nerve bundle.

 

Bulging Discs: Causes

If you suspect you might be suffering from a bulging disc, take action before it ruptures and cause further damage to the body. The first step toward treating a bulging disc is identifying its causes.

Bulging discs generally develop because of:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease - As we age, the discs in our spinal column become less structurally sound and their water content declines. These changes make discs vulnerable to bulges and other complications. Certain factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle or smoking may accelerate the corrosion of disc material.
  • General Wear and Tear - Discs and vertebrae deteriorate over the years due to our bodies’ natural aging process. When discs are strained or the distribution of weight around them changes, they may begin to emerge.
  • Injury or Trauma - For the most part, herniated discs are associated with immediate injury, while bulging discs emerge slowly. However, an accident or sudden trauma can occasionally cause a long-term injury that disrupts the spinal system eventually causing a bulging disc.
  • Bad Posture - Standing, sitting or sleeping in an improper manner can strain the neck and back, which can eventually lead to a bulging disc. In order to have a good posture you must keep your body aligned. While sitting, rest with your back straight and your shoulders back. Use a lumbar roll, pillow or towel to support your lower back and try to avoid remaining in one position for extended periods of time. Sleeping on your side, sometimes with a pillow between the knees for added support, generally yields positive results for a healthy spine.
  • Occupational Hazards - If your job requires repetitive lifting, bending, standing and/or driving, you may be at risk for a bulging disc. Improperly carrying heavy objects may also result in a swollen disc. The safest way to pick up objects is to keep your back straight and use your leg muscles, instead of bending forward and relying upon your arms and back to raise significant weight.

Men and women who participate in contact sports or have a family history of disc disease need to be especially aware of the signs and symptoms of a bulging disc. Obese men and women are also at risk of developing bulging discs. Additionally, wearing shoes with no orthopedic support while running can place stress on the spine and increase your chances of developing a bulging disc.

 

Bulging Discs: Non-Surgical Treatment Options

If you believe you may be suffering from a bulging disc, there are many ways to get a professional opinion and obtain a diagnosis.Our team of spine specialists offers pain mapping procedures, which use numbing medication to pinpoint the exact location of your discomfort. We may also recommend undergoing imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI.

Depending upon the underlying causes behind your condition and the extent of your symptoms, conservative treatment may be sufficient to regulate your bulging disc. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, professional massages, ice packs, heating pads, physical therapy, and a change in lifestyle can often reduce or completely eliminate disc-related pains.

 

Bulging Discs: Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

Discs in sensitive locations or that appear to be close to herniation may need minimally invasive surgery. These procedures use advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technology to remove and correct spinal difficulties. Unlike traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery usually only requires minor recovery time and reduces the likelihood of scarring, trauma, and blood loss. Our highly acclaimed surgeons offer a number of procedures to relief bulging discs.

After undergoing minimally invasive surgery, patients are generally advised to implement a moderate activity routine to strengthen muscles and avoid future back problems. Talk to your doctor about low impact exercises appropriate for those with bulging discs, such as aerobic swimming or restorative yoga. If you feel any pain or discomfort while working out, immediately stop exercising and rest.

Finding early solutions in a bulging disc’s trajectory can prevent that pain worsens and that it becomes a debilitating injury. Schedule an appointment with one of our spine experts today to begin treating your protruding disc, so that you can freely and painlessly pursue the things you love. Visit one of our nearby Dallas-Fort Worth locations or fill out the form on this page for more information. We look forward to helping you!


 

What is degenerative disc disease?

The spine, which is also known as the body’s backbone, protects the spinal cord, bears the weight of the body and facilitates movement. Vertebral bones are stacked atop one another which then form the spinal column. Most of the vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs, which are made up of cartilage and fibers. These discs account for almost ¼ of the spine’s length. They absorb shock and strain, and also cushion the spine as it flexes, twists and bends.

 

Although intervertebral discs are almost entirely comprised of water, collagen and proteoglycans, these three components are present at different levels between the disc’s exterior and interior. Its nucleus is soft, gel-like, and contains a substantial amount of water. This gelatinous center is surrounded by a hard, protective outer casing.

Despite having this supportive surface, intervertebral discs are still very vulnerable to damage. As we age, our spines begin to lose water content, which makes them deteriorate. Discs begin to compress, tear or rupture. Degenerative disc disease refers to this natural process, where as a person grows older, general wear and tear affects the intervertebral discs.

Degenerative disc disease most often occurs in the lower back (also known as the lumbar spine) and neck (also known as the cervical spine). This disease causes pain, pressure, and nerve damage. If left untreated, degenerative disc disease can cause serious and debilitating spinal issues. Some severe complications can sometimes originate from degenerative disc disease, such as: spinal stenosis, herniated discs, collapsed discs, and spinal cord injuries.

 

Degenerative Discs: Causes

One of the prominent causes of degenerative disc disease is the natural effect of aging. Still, certain medical factors can exacerbate and intensify degenerative disc disease, including:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity or carrying excess weight
  • Improperly lifting heavy objects
  • Making repetitive, strenuous movements
  • A sudden, serious injury, such as one that may result from a fall, car accident or high-impact sport

Other complications such as osteoporosis, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and other spinal problems can surface as a result of degenerative disc disease. If you believe you may be at risk for degenerative disc disease, talk to your doctor about how to maintain long-term spinal health. By practicing proper precautions and making certain lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of contracting premature spine-related difficulties while proactively warding off issues later in life.

 

Degenerative Discs: Symptoms

As with most back, neck, and spine issues, degenerative disc disease is associated with a variety of symptoms and can easily be confused with other conditions. If you think you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease, schedule a consult with one of our Board-certified spine surgeons to attain a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis. Some of the symptoms from degenerative disc disease include:

  • Acute or chronic neck or back pain that may be dull and aching, or sharp and pronounced
  • Limited mobility and discomfort when trying to participate in everyday activities
  • Neck or arm pain, if the damaged disc is located in the neck
  • Back, buttock, and leg pain, if the damaged disc is located in the lower back
  • Pain that worsens when bending, reaching, sitting or twisting

If you or a loved one starts having a fever or bladder or bowel incontinence, please call 911 immediately. These may be signs that a medical emergency is occurring.

 

Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

Although degenerative disc disease affects many men and women as they grow older, these debilitating symptoms do not have to be a permanent aspect of your daily life. Our team of experienced spine specialists are committed to helping you find safe and compassionate solutions for your symptoms. By providing personalized, state-of-the-art care, we strive to ensure that patients return to their everyday lives without being hindered by pain or the fear of developing more complications.

During your initial consultation, one of our experienced surgeons will carefully evaluate your medical history and physical state. To obtain a comprehensive and clear diagnosis, imaging tests like a CT scan, X-ray or MRI may be requested. Based upon the information gathered, we will design a personalized treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.


 

Herniated Discs

Many men and women experience a herniated disc at some point in their lifetime, often without realizing it until symptoms appear and are persistent and painful. In order to resume a pain-free life, you must become well informed about your condition is the first step toward finding a potential treatment and resuming a pain-free life. And that’s why we’re here to help!

What are these “discs” that are causing you so much trouble? Made from a hard outer layer known as the annulus and a soft, liquid-like material known as the nucleus, discs are shock absorbers located between the vertebrae that cushion the spinal column and protect the spine from everyday strain. Occasionally, however, a tear or weakness in a disc’s outer layer allows the fluidic inner layer to leak into the spinal canal. As a result, there is additional pressure placed on local nerves, causing pain, discomfort, and other complications. This condition is known as a herniation, or a slipped or ruptured disc.

herniated disc image

 

Herniated Disc: Symptoms

Symptoms can vary from patient to patient and are determined by the area where the problem is located within the spine. Sometimes, patients may exhibit no outward signs of a ruptured disc at all. When the disc begins to strain a nearby nerve, however, typical symptoms can include:

  • Dull, achy pain or sharp, intense pain
  • Muscle tightness and cramping
  • Radiating pain through the shoulders and arms, or down the legs
  • Tingling sensations through the arms and hands, or down the legs
  • Weakness in the affected area and limbs
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches when you sit or lie in certain positions
  • Lower back pain that gets worse when you sit, cough or sneeze

 

Herniated Disc: Causes

If you have any of the above indicators, you may be experiencing a herniated disc. Sometimes, patients can remember the precise moment when the injury most likely occurred; others are at a loss to understand how they could have contracted such a problem. The most common causes of a slipped disc are the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease

    This occurs when the discs in the spine lose volume over time and cannot properly absorb shocks or allow the spine to flex and twist. Weak discs are more likely to rupture.

  • Sudden trauma or accident

    Occasionally, an abrupt and unexpected injury can cause a slipped disc when the body is forced to twist or bend, or external forces place unbearable pressure upon the spine.

  • Frequent, improper movements or lifting

    When you lift things incorrectly by bending (instead of squatting) or try to carry heavy loads beyond your capacity, you may herniate a disc.

Excess body weight, which places extra stress on the discs in your lower back, can also increase your likelihood of a herniation. Some people can also inherit a genetic predisposition to slipped discs or have an occupation where repetitive, strenuous motions raise their chances of injury. Additionally, if you smoke, you are also at risk for herniated discs.

 

Herniated Disc Non-Surgical Treatment Options

There are many procedures available to treat disc ruptures. Depending on the location and severity of your injury, you may consider:

  • Therapy

    Licensed physical therapists can teach you different positions and exercises to alleviate herniated disc pain. By strengthening the back and abdominal muscles, you may relieve some of the strain on the ruptured disc and minimize inflammation. Traction, electrical stimulation, and short-term bracing may also improve your condition. One of the methods mostly used by professionals is hot and cold therapy, where heating and cooling elements are applied to the affected area. You can carry out this therapy by taking hot showers or baths as well as using ice packs or heating pads.

  • Medication

    Some prescription and over-the-counter medications may temporarily minimize the discomfort caused by herniated discs. Speak with your doctor before you decide to take some medication. Some of them can worsen your condition and may lead to other serious consequences.

  • Lifestyle changes

    By mindfully approaching your everyday life, you can prevent herniated discs and help those you already have toward healing. Bed rest is not recommended, though you should get plenty of sleep. If there is acute back pain, it is advised that you do not participate in intense exercise, particularly heavy lifting. One way to reduce the pressure on your back is participating in yoga practice.

 

Herniated Disc Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

If the above treatments do not provide permanent help or alleviate the symptoms of your herniated disc, minimally invasive surgery may be required. Our team of experts will work with you to create a customized treatment plan based on your individual preferences and needs. Minimally invasive procedures require only a small incision and generally lead to a far shorter recovery time than traditional open surgery, because they place less trauma upon muscles and tissues surrounding the affected area.

Our highly trained physicians use advanced techniques to treat slipped discs and degenerative disc disease. Here are just a few of the minimally invasive procedures we perform:

  • Discectomies

    During a discectomy, the surgeon removes the herniated portion of an affected disc in order to relieve pressure on surrounding nerve roots. The disc wall is then treated to prevent further leakage and continuing pain.

  • Microdiscectomies

    Microdiscectomies are similar to discectomies, except they usually take place in the cervical (upper) region of the spine. An expert will remove the bulging portion of the affected disc while preserving the rest of it.

  • Fusions

    Weakened vertebrae are fused together with a bone-bridge designed to re-stabilize the spine. The damaged disc is partially removed and a spacer is inserted into the empty disc space between the two vertebrae. Bone graft material is also inserted into this space to promote rapid healing and encourage the two vertebrae to form one. As a result, newly aligned vertebral bones tend to no longer pinch surrounding nerves.

 

Each Board Certified surgeon on our team is committed to getting you back to the quality of life that you deserve and quickly. Generally, the advantages of minimally invasive surgery include less scarring, shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, increased safety, and quicker recovery times.

Schedule a consultation today and take care of your spine by visiting one of our nearby Dallas-Fort Worth locations or filling out the form on this page. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you get back to living!


 

Pinched Nerve

Our bodies are made up of a complex network of nerves. These extend from our brains through our arms, legs, and other extremities to send messages to our muscles and skin. Nerves also extend from the spinal cord and are especially sensitive to pressure. Typically, our nerves are most vulnerable when they travel through narrow spaces in our bodies but have very little tissue for protection, such as when exiting the spine.

A pinched nerve, also known medically as a nerve compression, occurs when there is pressure placed upon a nerve. Oftentimes, this happens when an internal or external force causes the nerve to become pressed between tissues such as ligaments, bones, cartilage or tendons. The pain associated with a pinched nerve can be minor or severe and may cause cervical radiculopathy, a condition in which the pain radiates out into extremities such as the arms, hands, legs, and feet.

Pinched Nerve Image 

Even if the pain is mild, it’s always important to seek medical attention fast in order to avoid permanent nerve damage, fluid build-up, scarring, and swelling.

 

Pinched Nerve: Causes

There can be a wide variety of causes for pressure on a nerve, but some of the most common include:

  • Herniated discs - Often, a painful condition that occurs when a tear or weakness in a vertebral disc’s outer layer allows the gel-like inner layer to leak into the spinal canal. This puts pressure onto area nerves and can cause significant discomfort and pain.
  • Bone spurs - Small, sharp outgrowths of bone that can develop along the spine when minor inflammation causes cells to deposit extra bone in the area.
  • Spinal arthritis - A fairly common condition that occurs when cartilage in the joints becomes worn down and eventually disappears due to aging, wear and tear, and/or trauma. Inflammation can also occur, placing pressure on to nearby nerves.
  • Repetitive motions - These are often associated with sports, exercise, improper lifting or other heavy use of the back (such as in physical, labor-intensive jobs).
  • Holding the body in one position for a long period of time - This can happen while working, sleeping or traveling long distances.
  • Sudden and unexpected trauma and/or accident
  • Pregnancy, due to increased weight and water retention, which are both risk factors for developing pinched nerves.

The spine is an incredibly intricate structure and it can also be highly susceptible to injury, ailment and even general wear and tear. Any changes to the components of the spine – from its discs to its bones and tendons – can quickly irritate or pinch a nearby nerve, causing pain, discomfort and even affecting a patient’s daily life and activities.

 

Pinched Nerve: Symptoms

Pinched nerves have several key symptoms, including:

  • Radiating pain through the neck or lower back
  • Shooting pain through the leg or foot if the pinched nerve is located in the lower back
  • Shooting pain through the shoulder or arm if the pinched nerve is located in the neck
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling and pins-and-needles sensations
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, due to the pinched nerve controlling specific muscles
  • Burning or “hot and cold” sensations

Some of the areas where pinched nerves most frequently occur include:

  • The sciatic nerve, which can cause pain through the lower back and into the leg
  • The cervical spine, better known as the neck region of the back. Pinched nerves in the neck can cause radiating pain through the shoulder blade and/or arm
  • The common peroneal nerve, which is located in the lower leg and typically controls specific muscles in the calf, foot and toes

 

Pinched Nerve Non-Surgical Treatment Options

We treat each patient as an individual and thoroughly review all factors before deciding on a recommended course of treatment. This includes discussing the patient’s health history, examining imaging, such as C.T. scans, MRIs or X-rays, and learning about their unique symptoms, lifestyle, and goals.

There are many conservative and non-surgical options available to relieve a pinched nerve. We frequently implement combinations of the following, depending on the patient’s condition:

  • Rest and Physical Therapy

    Simply taking it easy on the affected area can be very effective in allowing the nerve to heal. If necessary, a splint or collar can encourage limited motion and force the affected area to rest. Sometimes, we may suggest physical therapy through specialized exercises designed to strengthen the back and alleviate pressure from a nerve.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications

    Over-the-counter and prescription medication can oftentimes relieve the inflammation, pain, and swelling associated with a pinched nerve.

  • Injections

    In addition to pain mapping, which allows us to pinpoint the precise location of your pinched nerve, we also feature a variety of steroid injections. These injections are designed to bathe irritated nerves in soothing medication that offers immediate pain relief. This reduces inflammation and alleviates discomfort while a more permanent solution for the pinched nerve is determined.

  • Hot and Cold Therapy

    Alternating between hot and cold therapy, such as heating pads, ice packs, moist heat, and other at-home options, can bring relief for mildly painful pinched nerves. By following our physicians’ instructions for correctly implementing hot and cold therapies, discomfort can be soothed while the pinched nerve heals itself.

  • Massage and Acupuncture

    Deep therapeutic massage by a licensed therapist can encourage blood flow and induce relaxation while gentle, targeted pressure on the nerve can help to relieve tension and pain. Additionally, acupuncture uses specialized needles on specific trigger points within the muscle and is commonly used as a conservative treatment for compressed or pinched nerves.

 

Pinched Nerve Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

Our team of neck, back and spine specialists are experts in the treatment of pinched nerves. We always recommend conservative care first, including the non-surgical treatment options listed above.

On rare occasions, minimally invasive surgery may be required for extreme cases. Our minimally invasive treatments use tiny incisions to carefully remove portions of a vertebral disc, scar tissue, bone spurs or other elements that may be pressing onto the nerve.

In the event that surgery is deemed appropriate, patients can rest assured that our advanced minimally invasive techniques mean quicker recovery times, less scarring and trauma to surrounding areas as well as rapid pain relief.


 

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

The sacroiliac joint is a small, yet very strong joint that lies next to the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar spine and above the coccyx. It connects the sacrum with the pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are two cushioning, shock-absorbing structures. Each joint is located on either side of a patient’s spine and helps carry the weight of the upper body.

S.I. joint pain,” sacroiliac joint dysfunction is considered to be a primary cause of lower back and leg discomfort. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction usually begins when one or both of the joints become inflamed or irritated for any number of reasons, which may continue to worsen. With professional medical treatment, however, many patients with sacroiliac joint dysfunction achieve full recovery.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction image

 

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: Causes

Usually, sacroiliac joint dysfunction develops as the result of natural degenerative, age-related changes in the spine and joints. However, a variety of additional factors can also cause or intensify sacroiliac joint dysfunction and pain, including:

  • Sudden injuries or traumas, which might occur during a high-impact sport, car accident or fall
  • Frequent, incorrect movements that affect the joints, including improper jogging, uneven strides, driving long distances or improperly lifting heavy objects
  • Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, which involves the deterioration of the cartilage that keeps bones in the sacroiliac joints from grinding against one another
  • Pregnancy, due to hormones released that can cause joints to loosen
  • Gout
  • Bacterial infection
  • Family history, genetics or congenital birth abnormalities, like one leg being longer or shorter than the other
  • Obesity or extra weight
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of exercise and extended periods of rest
  • Previous spine-related complications or injuries

To prevent sacroiliac joint dysfunction, it is important to proactively address concerns and take the necessary steps to ensure that your spine stays healthy throughout your lifetime. During a consultation at Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, one of our skilled spine specialists can assess your risk of contracting sacroiliac joint dysfunction and other painful conditions. We can also provide preventative methods of care that are tailored to your unique lifestyle and goals, so that you have the tools you need for long-term spine wellness.

 

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: Symptoms

Because the sacroiliac joints have a specific location within the body, symptoms are typically highly localized. Some indicators include:

  • Dull or sharp pain in the lower back and hips that sometimes extends to the groin and/or thighs
  • Discomfort that worsens when standing or walking and improves when lying down
  • Stiffness throughout the affected area
  • A limited range of motion
  • Burning sensations in the pelvic region
  • Inflammation

If you are having trouble pinpointing the precise region of your body that is causing you to feel uncomfortable, our team of spine experts can conduct an advanced pain-mapping procedure to identify the exact origination of your pain. Generally, the more information that we can gather about your spine condition, then the more we can ensure an optimal treatment for your needs.

Patients who suffer from fever, bladder o bowel incontinence should call 911 immediately, as these symptoms may constitute a medical emergency.

 

Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

Deficiencies in the sacroiliac joints may keep you from fully participating in everyday activities. However, there are many safe and effective treatments for S.I. joint pain, which oftentimes allow patients to make a full recovery from even the most severe cases of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Our experienced physicians and surgeons regularly help patients find sustainable solutions to this condition and many others. By scheduling a consultation today, you can take control of your health and regain your quality of life.

During your initial visit, we will carefully review your medical history and conduct a thorough examination of your symptoms and physical state. Because sacroiliac joint dysfunction can easily be mistaken for other conditions, we may request a C.T. scan, MRI, X-ray or other imaging tests to rule out inaccurate diagnoses. An anesthetic injection block applied to the S.I. joint may also be considered, as this procedure is considered the gold standard as far as diagnostic tests for sacroiliac joint dysfunction go. After obtaining a comprehensive diagnosis, our team can design a treatment plan to meet your individual needs and specifications.

Because of the immense amounts of research and evidence behind conservative treatments, these are typically recommended before surgery becomes an option. Some of the most beneficial non-surgical methods of care for sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:

  • Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications, which may be delivered topically, orally or through advanced methods such as localized injections, ultrasound technology or electrical stimulation therapy
  • Physical therapy and guided exercises
  • Heat and ice therapies, which optimize the body’s circulatory and healing processes
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Chiropractic manipulations
  • Assistive devices like a sacroiliac belt (this tool, in particular, is commonly used for pregnant patients as their pain will likely resolve after giving birth)
  • Psychological support

If non-invasive treatments do not appear to be giving our patients the relief they need, then our medical specialists and experienced physicians will discuss minimally invasive surgical options. In many sacroiliac joint dysfunction cases, our Board-certified spine surgeons will perform an interbody fusion. This state-of-the-art procedure removes cartilage from the sacroiliac joints and fuses the bones together, which often results in nearly immediate pain relief. As the premier spinal clinic in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, our patients experience many benefits as the result of our minimally invasive techniques. The following are just a few of the reasons why minimally invasive surgeries surpass traditional open surgeries in regards to patient advantages:

  • Tiny incisions
  • A reduced risk of blood loss or scarring
  • Minimal trauma to surrounding muscles and tissue
  • Quicker recovery times that allow patients to rapidly return to work, school and other responsibilities
  • Faster pain relief

Through patient-centric care and personalized attention, we are committed to ensuring that you have a positive recovery process. If you would like to learn more about sacroiliac joint dysfunction available treatments or Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, please contact us. We look forward to helping you feel better, faster!


 

What is sciatica?

Sciatica (pronounced sigh-at-eh-kah) is a very common condition, affecting over 3 million people each year in the United States. However, by understanding the various symptoms and causes of sciatica, as well as the available treatments, you can make confident and knowledgeable decisions about this generally manageable complication.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower region of the spine down the back of each leg. As the longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve provides sensation to the backs of the thighs, parts of the legs and feet. It also controls the muscles around the backs of the knees and the lower legs. When the sciatic nerve is pressured or damaged in any way, sciatica occurs.

 

Sciatica image 

Pain can vary widely, sometimes appearing as a light tingling, a dull aching or even a burning feeling known as lumbar radiculopathy. In very rare cases, the pain can become so severe that a patient is immobilized. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the rear or leg that intensifies when standing or sitting
  • Hip pain
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear
  • Sensations that make it difficult to stand from a sitting position
  • A “pins-and-needles” feeling

Pain located on one side of the body and not in the other is usually a good indicator of sciatica as each sciatic nerve operates independently from the other. Some distinct symptoms, such as pain when you bend your body either forward or backward, may appear depending on the origin of your sciatica.

 

Sciatica: Causes

The underlying causes can vary as well as its symptoms. However, some of the most common factors are:

  • Degenerative disc disease

    As discs in the spine age begin to show wear and tear. This process can be accelerated by other factors and may cause sciatica as your spinal makeup begins to change.

  • Herniated disc

    Also known as a “slipped” or ruptured disc, a herniation occurs when a tear in the disc’s hard outer layer, known as the annulus, allows the inner liquid-like nucleus to leak into the spinal canal. As a result, pressure sets in and, if located near the sciatic nerve, can lead to sciatica. Herniated discs usually happen because of strenuous labor or everyday tasks that are physically straining.

  • Spinal stenosis

    Sciatica may be caused by spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal. When spinal stenosis occurs, tension is placed on the spinal cord and may irritate and strain local nerves.

  • Piriformis syndrome

    The slim piriformis muscle is located in the buttocks, near the hip joint, and helps people move their thighs, maintain balance and walk. The sciatic nerve travels closely to this muscle and can easily become pressed or irritated when the piriformis spasms or contracts. Runners and other athletes are especially susceptible to this type of trigger.

  • Spondylolisthesis

    Occasionally, a vertebra in the spine can slip forward and slide over the bone beneath it. This condition is known as spondylolisthesis and is most common in the lower back, where straining nearby nerves can cause sciatica.

  • Sudden injury or accident

    Some unexpected traumatic events, such as a car accident, can lead to sciatica. Injuries sustained and new scar tissue can place stress on the sciatic nerve.

  • Pregnancy

    During pregnancy, pain in the back of the thighs spurred by shifts in the pelvic region can be misdiagnosed as sciatica. However, there are situations in which the sciatic nerve is actually being pressed as a result of these changes. Speak to your doctor if you think you are suffering from sciatica or pelvic groin pain.

  • Infection

    Rarely, an infection in the spine may cause sciatica.

  • Other health issues, such as tumors

    Growths and related health issues may irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to chronic sciatica.

 

Sciatica: Symptoms

Symptoms often include:

  • Mild tingling sensations throughout the leg, calf or foot
  • Dull, aching pain throughout the leg, calf or foot
  • Burning sensations, known as lumbar radiculopathy
  • Sharp pain in parts in the leg or hip
  • Weakness and numbness in the affected leg

 

Sciatica: Non-Surgical Treatment Options

In order to correctly address sciatica we must identify its root cause. Luckily, there are many methods that may lessen the pain of sciatica or remove it entirely. Many treatment plans involve one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy and massage therapy

    Strengthening exercises, aerobic conditioning, and targeted massage provide remedies to many men and women suffering from sciatica. Empowering the spinal column and abdominal core as well as related muscles, ligaments, and tendons through purposeful exercise can reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. Massages from licensed professionals may relieve tension and reduce inflammation.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

    Some anti-inflammatory medications may help mitigate the pain and severity of sciatica, but be sure to discuss all potential pharmaceuticals with your doctor before using them. Failing to do so may result in an even worse case of sciatica or other serious consequences.

  • Lifestyle changes

    Choosing a better lifestyle can help the body deal with sciatica and may keep your condition from worsening. Drink lots of water and eat a diet high in healthy proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid prolonged periods of bed rest, as they tighten your muscles and can lead to even greater irritation. Maintain proper posture and stretch regularly. Do not smoke, as doing so can heighten your risk for disc degeneration and sciatica relapses.

  • Epidural steroid injections

    Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) can significantly reduce pain and will likely be used in tandem with a rehabilitation program to treat sciatica. Although ESIs provide only temporary relief, some people who have acute sciatic episodes may find them beneficial until a more permanent solution is reached.

 

Sciatica: Surgical Treatment Options

If conservative treatments do not ease your sciatica-related pains, you may consider undergoing minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive procedures focus on removing the condition instead of only treating the symptoms. These approaches also prioritize extremely small incisions and shortened recovery times.

Common minimally invasive surgeries are:

  • Discectomies

    During a discectomy, an expert removes herniated disc material that is pressing on the sciatic nerve.

  • Microdiscectomies

    A microdiscectomy or micro decompression involves removing fragments of intervertebral discs that have broken away and are pressing on the sciatic nerve or spinal cord. Microdiscectomies may also extract bulging or protruding disc material that is causing sciatica.

  • Laminectomies

    Sometimes, a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina can be removed to decrease sciatica.

Our team of expert physicians can work with you to develop a sciatica treatment plan that fits your unique needs and preferences. With state-of-the-art facilities and advanced techniques, our highly trained spine experts are dedicated to helping you find pain relief and reach long-term solutions that will give you back your quality of life.


 

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a common spinal condition that affects over 3 million people in the United States each year. In fact, approximately 2% – 3% of Americans aged between 10 and 15 years old develop scoliosis. Defined as a sideways curvature in the normally straight vertical path of the spine, scoliosis may surface during the rapid growth spurts just before puberty. Females tend to have a higher risk of developing this condition than males.

 

Scoliosis image

 

There are four primary types of scoliosis, including:

  • Neuromuscular

    As a result from reduced muscle or nerve function, this form of scoliosis is usually seen in those with cerebral palsy, spina bifida or other conditions that are accompanied by paralysis. Neuromuscular scoliosis is also commonly referred to as myopathic scoliosis.

  • Degenerative

    Caused by aging and general wear and tear, degenerative scoliosis typically spurs from the thinning of the bones. An unexpected injury or trauma can also cause this type of scoliosis. Usually occurring later in life, it is one of the few types of scoliosis that healthy patients may first begin to experience in adulthood.

  • Congenital

    If a patient is born with a bone abnormality and they develop scoliosis as a result, their condition is considered congenital scoliosis. This ailment develops in the uterus and can be recognized during a child’s infancy. Congenital scoliosis is very rare, affecting only one in 10,000 children. However, those who suffer from this complication generally require corrective surgery.

  • Idiopathic

    This type of scoliosis arises from no known cause. However, strong evidence suggests that this type of scoliosis can be inherited and has a genetic component.

 

The severity of scoliosis depends upon the shape, location, and direction of the curvature. Lateral arcs are generally described as “S-shaped” curves or “C-shaped” curves, as they resemble the deviations of these letters. Other common terms used to indicate the details of a specific curvature include:

  • Dextroscoliosis

    The most frequently occurring type of spinal curve, dextroscoliosis develops when the spine bends toward the right. This usually happens in the thoracic (middle back) area of the spine and may be isolated (forming a “C” shape), or accompanied by another curve moving in the opposite direction in the lower spine (creating an “S” shape).

  • Levoscoliosis

    A spinal curve to the left, levoscoliosis usually surfaces in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. However, it is important to diagnose levoscoliosis quickly because if it occurs in the thoracic spine, it may indicate a spinal cord tumor.

  • Thoracic Scoliosis

    In the majority of cases, scoliosis occurs in the middle (thoracic) spine.

  • Lumbar Scoliosis

    Sometimes, scoliosis may occur in the lower (lumbar) spine.

  • Thoracolumbar Scoliosis

    Some patients may suffer from scoliosis that involves the vertebrae in both the lower thoracic spine and the upper lumbar spine.

 

Causes

If you discover a spinal curvature, it is important to speak with a licensed spine professional to determine its causes. Many factors can be easily treated, but others can be dangerous and require timely medical attention.

Common causes include:

  • Congenital abnormality or possible genetic predisposition
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Aging
  • Bone degeneration
  • Sudden injury, trauma or accident
  • Infection
  • Tumor or growth

By analyzing the spinal curve and performing non-invasive tests when necessary, spine specialists can typically determine the underlying cause and then build a treatment plan best suited for each case.

 

Symptoms

Scoliosis can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms can appear gradually and may not be accompanied by any immediate pain. However, it is important to address it promptly since this can increase your chance of obtaining effective treatment and preserve your quality of life.

Look out for these symptoms:

  • The spine appears curved when viewed from the back
  • One shoulder appears higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade protrudes more than the other
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • Dull or sharp back pain is experienced
  • Difficulty breathing (in extreme cases)
  • One leg appears shorter than the other
  • The body tilts to one side

If you have trouble breathing, experience decreased mobility or extreme pain, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

 

Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

During your initial consultation, our trained spine specialists will review your symptoms, family history, and physical state to determine the severity of your condition. Then, based on this information, we will create a personalized treatment plan designed to fit your needs and goals.

Unless you are suffering from progressive or severe scoliosis (typically determined by the degree to which your spine curves), we generally provide conservative treatments, such as:

  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Back bracing
  • Specialized exercise or physical therapy
  • Spinal rehabilitation programs

If your scoliosis is minor and appears to be stationary, we will carefully observe your condition to ensure safety. If the curvature in the spine expands greater than 20 – 30 degrees and conservative treatments are ineffective, we may then suggest the option of minimally invasive spine surgery. Generally, these surgeries use small amounts of bone graft or bone marrow aspirate to fuse the area of the curve and correct the spine.

When considering minimally invasive surgery, patients should be aware of the many benefits these advanced techniques offer. Unlike traditional surgery, minimally invasive surgery includes:

  • Tiny incisions
  • Reduced blood loss and scarring
  • Minimal trauma to surrounding muscle and tissue
  • Quicker recovery times, allowing patients to return to work, school, and daily activities sooner
  • Faster pain relief and eliminated discomfort

We can offer timely referrals to a variety of specialists if it is determined that your condition does not require a spine expert. With orthopedic surgeons, pain management specialists, a state-of-the-art surgical center, and more, Lumin Health drives new standards in patient-centric care by providing innovative services and expert treatment.


 

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the open spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine to your arms and legs. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower (lumbar) region and the cervical (neck) area. There are more than 200,000 cases of spinal stenosis each year in the United States, making it a highly treatable condition with a wide variety of options for relief.

Spinal Stenosis image

While some are born with a congenital form of spinal stenosis, the majority of patients develop this condition as part of the body’s natural aging process and due to general wear and tear of the spine. While it may not be initially apparent, most patients will eventually feel symptoms as the condition progresses.

Because spinal stenosis most often develops in the cervical or lumbar areas of the spine, it is important to keep track of the differences and symptoms to watch for:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis

    It may be reminiscent of sciatica, as it causes tingling, weakness, numbness, and discomfort in the lower back that radiates through the legs. Patients typically report an increase in pain and symptoms when walking and while doing other lower body-centered activities.

  • Cervical spinal stenosis

    It is directly linked with spinal cord compression (known as myelopathy), which, in extreme cases, can cause very debilitating issues such as weakness or even paralysis. Additionally, patients suffering from cervical spinal stenosis may notice pain, tingling, and numbness that radiates from the neck through the shoulders and arms.

The narrowing associated with spinal stenosis is generally either within the spinal canal itself, the canals at the base of the spine or the openings between vertebrae. All of these areas also function as passages where sensitive nerve roots are located and where nerves enter and exit the spine. Even minor narrowing can cause significant pain because of the proximity between nerves and nerve roots.

 

Spinal Stenosis: Causes

Spinal stenosis can either be inherited or developed. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Aging
  • General wear and tear due to the body’s natural aging process
  • Genetic predisposition or congenital defect
  • Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that places significant pressure onto area nerves and ligaments.
  • Bulging and herniated discs, which causes inflammation and pain when the gel-like inner material of a vertebral disc leaks into the spinal column and compresses nearby nerves
  • Arthritis, in which the protective cartilage surrounding the joints is worn away
  • Sudden and unexpected trauma and/or accident
  • Other health issues, such as spinal tumors or Paget’s disease

While a number of underlying conditions can contribute to spinal stenosis, it is most often attributed to aging and the eventual degeneration of the spine that comes with the aging process. This is why spinal stenosis is most common in men and women over 50 years old. However, younger people born with a genetic predisposition or who suffer a back injury can also develop this condition.

 

Spinal Stenosis: Symptoms

There may be no initial symptoms of spinal stenosis, or they may develop slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Pain and discomfort in the back and/or neck
  • Numbness, weakness, cramping or pain that radiates into the arms and hands or legs and feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control, in certain extreme cases in which heavy pressure is placed onto nerves in the lower back

Many of the symptoms of spinal stenosis are similar to those of other spine conditions, which can make it difficult to differentiate one condition from another. Visiting a spine specialist right away is essential in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Once a patient’s condition is determined, this allows our physicians to build the most effective treatment plan to give each patient back their quality of life.

 

Spinal Stenosis: Non-Surgical Treatment Options

There are a variety of non-surgical treatment options for spinal stenosis. Our physicians may try one or a combination of many treatments to determine what works best for each patient. Some of the most commonly recommended conservative options include:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications

    To help alleviate pain and discomfort, you may try anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication, whether prescribed by a physician or ibuprofen purchased over-the-counter.

    Physical Therapy

    Physical therapy can help patients regain strength in their muscles while maintaining the flexibility and stability of their spine. Specialized exercises designed to strengthen the spine can also help reduce pain.

  • Injections

    We offer a variety of steroid injections that target the precise nerve roots affected by spinal stenosis. These injections can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pressure. Most patients mention feeling relief right away.

  • Bracing

    Your doctor may recommend a specialized back brace to be worn during the day which can help with proper posture while taking pressure off the spine. Braces can also help to force back muscles to rest while encouraging healing.

 

Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

We offer advanced procedures that can identify the exact location and cause of your spinal stenosis. This allows us to most effectively address it, based on your symptoms, the severity of your condition, and your individual health history. Before we determine that minimally invasive surgery is the best course of action, we will always recommend conservative treatments first. If your condition is causing loss of motor and/or bodily functions, or if initial conservative treatments have not been successful, we may recommend surgical options.

Common surgeries performed to treat spinal stenosis, such as laminectomies and laminoplasty, remove portions of affected vertebrae and create space inside the spinal canal. This generally reverses the narrowing that is part of spinal stenosis, takes pressure off of sensitive nerves and nerve roots, and relieves associated inflammation and pain.

Because our minimally invasive surgeries use small incisions and were designed to lessen trauma to surrounding areas, there is less blood loss and scarring involved versus a traditional open surgery. As a result, recovery times are generally much faster and patients experience relief fast.


 

Your spine is a complex structure. Repairing it after an injury or a disease and helping it heal properly requires expert knowledge and experience. If you’re suffering from chronic back or neck pain, contact us! We’ve successfully treated thousands of patients by using precise diagnostic technology and intricate micro invasive surgical techniques.

About Us

The first in Texas to perform micro-endoscopic laser spine surgery with an incision as small as 3 mm, Dr. Won advises multiple international spine technology companies and has helped design many groundbreaking tools for the minimally invasive spine surgery industry.

Dr. Won also innovated the Pain Mapping procedures, this diagnostic study helps to pin point the pain generator so that we can provide the least invasive spine procedures, LuMINI.

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