All Posts Tagged: neurosurgery

Sciatica

Sciatica is a painful condition of the nerves in the lower back that is associated with a variable degree of pain, numbness, tingling and weakness of one or both legs. Often it is self limited and resolves on its on. However, it can be persistent and need treatment. It is usually due to a ruptured or herniated or bulging disc. Discs are the cushions between our vertebrae of the spine. Normally these function as shock absorbers of the spine but over time the normal covering of the disc- the annulus- can become weak and allow the central part of the disc- the nucleus- to become displaced outside its normal location. If this displacement is adjacent to one of the nerves that run from the lower back into the legs it can produce sciatic pain.

Non-operative Treatment can consist of any or all of these options for those cases that do not spontaneously resolve:

* Spinal Exercises, Traction and other forms of spinal therapy

* NSAIDS

* Neuropathic medications such as Gabapentin

* Course of oral steroid medications

* Spinal Epidural injections In refractory cases minimally invasive microsurgical decompression and/or discectomy is a very safe and effective treatment.

 

At Legacy we offer this surgery for most patients at the outpatient surgery center through a MIS (minimally invasive) 1 inch or less incision. The success rate in terms of pain relief, return to work, return to ones sports or other activities of life are outstanding. Usually within 4-6 weeks most patients are able to resume normal activities. Patients with sedentary type work can usually return to their job in 2-5 days.

 

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Cell Phones and Neck Pain

Cell phones and neck pain

A new catchphrase in the health care world is Text Neck. It is a term that describes neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at a cell phone, tablet, or other electronic device for too long. In today’s society the cell phone is very much a necessity to most people and as a result, individuals begin to experience pain from overuse of these handy little devices.

 

Symptoms of Text Neck

  • Upper back pain (nagging pain to sharp, with or without muscle spasms)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Radiating pain in the arms or hands due to poor postural alignment

Treatment of Text Neck

  • Use handheld devices at eye level as much as possible
  • Take frequent breaks every 20-30 minutes
  • Physical Therapy
    • Core strengthening/stabilization exercises
    • Cervical musculature stretching
    • Soft Tissue Mobilization
    • Modalities for pain

 

The link below does an excellent job of explaining cervical spine anatomy and how it relates with neck pain, including “text neck”: https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/cervical-spine-anatomy-and-neck-pain

 

Image courtesy of: Always Connected. How Smartphones and Social Keep US Engaged\

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The Relationship of Neuropathy & Diabetes

Arkansas is ranked 4th among the nation in adult diabetes rates. This is somewhat of an alarming statistic. There are different forms of diabetes but type 2 diabetes is the one I would like to highlight. One complication that can be associated with type 2 diabetes is neuropathy.

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Bone Spurs

What is a bone spur?

A bone spur or ‘osteophyte’ is new bone that forms at the end of bones or joints. Bone spurs form in response to movement when one bone comes into contact with another bone across a joint or disk space.   Bone spurs can occur throughout the body but are common in the spine because of numerous bony joints and disks that make up and support the spine. Bone spur formation occurs to varying degrees and is expected in the aging spine but will be more common in patients that have significant arthritis.

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Is your bulging disk causing your back pain?

As our bodies age so do our spines. Arthritic changes will be present in the spine which include bulging disks, degenerative disk disease and joint changes. The degree that these changes occur are often related to genetics. A simple bulging disk is actually an extremely common finding on MRIs of the spine and is not an indication for surgery. There are many other structures in the low back and neck that are very sensitive to pain especially the muscles and numerous joints that support the spine. These are more often the cause of low back and neck pain and are treated with conservative therapies. Occasionally a disk will actually herniate out of the normal position between the vertebral bones and cause pressure on spinal nerve resulting in extremity pain. The disk herniation itself is not painful but can result in pain by causing inflammation and/or pressure on these spinal nerves. If extremity pain from a compressive herniated disk cannot be fixed with conservative treatments sometimes surgery is indicated. Our neurosurgeons are trained to read spine MRIs, understand the complicated anatomy of the spine and perform neurological exams to determine appropriate treatment options. 

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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy is a disorder caused from damage to the endings of the nerves. Peripheral Neuropathy is a symptom of an underlying disease or process and tested to find out the underlying cause.

Symptoms

Patients frequently report burning, itching, or shooting pain that often begins in the feet and gradually progresses to other areas.

Diagnosis and Treatments

EMG and nerve conduction testing performed by a trained physician can help rule out other causes of these symptoms and help plan for the best course of treatment. Our neurologists are trained in advanced EMG and nerve conduction testing and are well-versed in diagnosing and managing peripheral neuropathy.

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Fitness Friday: How to Maintain a Healthy Back

Most of the time when one is experiencing back pain, they often stay sedentary all day, because they think being active or stretching will hurt them more rather than elevate their back pain. Here are some great stretches and exercises that will increase core strength to support a healthy back.

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Foot Drop: Symptoms and Treatments

Foot drop is a term used to describe difficulty raising your foot upwards (dorsiflexion). This may be most noticeable when trying to walk as people with foot drop often complain of tripping and dragging their foot. Foot drop can be caused by a number of underlying neurological problems and should be evaluated by your physician.

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Non-Invasive Treatment for Neck Pain

Cervical Steroid Injections

Our primary goal is to relieve patient’s pain, while taking the least invasive route. Often times when someone has neck pain, it is best to start with Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections. Cervical Epidural Steroid injections are often used to relieve pain in the neck, arms and shoulders. Neck pain is often caused by conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, arthritis and spinal stenosis, which can cause compression and pinched nerves. To relieve pain associated with these, we often times recommend getting a series of three injections

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