Make Pain a Thing of the Past – Health and Wellness – Physician Partners of America

Are you tired of living with chronic joint pain that just won’t go away? Are traditional pain management methods not providing the relief you need? If so, then it’s time to consider a breakthrough solution known as facet joint injection. This targeted pain management technique is gaining popularity for its ability to provide long-lasting relief for those suffering from joint-related pain.

Facet joint injections involve injecting a combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected joint, targeting the source of the pain. These injections can provide immediate relief and have been found to be highly effective in reducing pain and improving overall joint function.

Unlike other pain management methods, such as oral medications or physical therapy, facet joint injections offer a more direct and targeted approach. By delivering medication directly to the affected area, these injections can provide faster and longer-lasting pain relief.

Don’t let joint pain hold you back from living a full and active life. Consider the breakthrough solution of facet joint injection and experience the relief you deserve. Say goodbye to chronic joint pain and hello to a pain-free future.

Understanding facet joint pain

Facet joints are small joints located between each pair of vertebrae in the spine. These joints provide stability and allow for smooth movement of the spine. However, like any other joint in the body, facet joints can become inflamed and painful due to conditions such as arthritis, injury, or degenerative disc disease.

Facet joint pain can manifest as localized pain in the neck, back, or hips. It can also cause referred pain, meaning the pain is felt in other areas of the body, such as the shoulders or buttocks. This type of pain can be debilitating and greatly impact a person’s quality of life.

What is a facet joint injection?

A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting a combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected facet joint. The injection is guided by the use of fluoroscopy or X-ray imaging to ensure precise placement of the medication.

The purpose of a facet joint injection is twofold. First, it provides immediate pain relief by numbing the area and reducing inflammation. Second, it serves as a diagnostic tool to determine if the facet joint is the source of the pain. If the injection provides temporary pain relief, it confirms that the facet joint is indeed the cause of the pain.

How does a facet joint injection work?

When a facet joint becomes inflamed, it can put pressure on surrounding nerves, causing pain. By injecting medication directly into the affected joint, a facet joint injection aims to reduce inflammation and relieve pressure on the nerves.

The injection typically consists of a mixture of anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. The anesthetic provides immediate pain relief by numbing the area, while the corticosteroid helps to reduce inflammation and provide long-term relief.

Once the medication is injected, it bathes the affected joint, providing targeted pain relief. The effects of the injection can last anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the individual and the severity of the condition.

Conditions that can be treated with facet joint injections

Facet joint injections are commonly used to treat a variety of conditions that cause facet joint pain. These conditions include:

  1. Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that causes the breakdown of cartilage and the formation of bone spurs.
  2. Facet joint syndrome: A condition characterized by the inflammation and degeneration of the facet joints.
  3. Spondylosis: A general term used to describe degenerative changes in the spine, including facet joint degeneration.
  4. Facet joint arthritis: Inflammation of the facet joints due to an autoimmune response.
  5. Facet joint cysts: Fluid-filled sacs that develop in the facet joints, causing pain and inflammation.

By targeting the source of the pain, facet joint injections can provide relief and improve overall joint function in individuals suffering from these conditions.

Benefits of facet joint injections

Facet joint injections offer several benefits over traditional pain management methods:

  1. Targeted pain relief: By delivering medication directly to the affected joint, facet joint injections provide more precise pain relief compared to oral medications.
  2. Longer-lasting results: The combination of anesthetic and corticosteroid medication in facet joint injections can provide both immediate and long-term pain relief.
  3. Diagnostic tool: Facet joint injections serve as a diagnostic tool to determine if the facet joint is the source of the pain. If the injection provides relief, it confirms the diagnosis.
  4. Minimally invasive: Facet joint injections are minimally invasive procedures that can be performed on an outpatient basis. They require only a small incision and have a relatively quick recovery time.

These benefits make facet joint injections an attractive option for individuals seeking targeted pain relief and improved joint function.

Risks and side effects of facet joint injections

Like any medical procedure, facet joint injections carry some risks and potential side effects. The most common risks and side effects include:

  1. Infection: There is a small risk of infection at the injection site. However, this risk is minimized through the use of sterile techniques during the procedure.
  2. Bleeding: Some individuals may experience minor bleeding at the injection site. This is usually temporary and resolves on its own.
  3. Allergic reaction: While rare, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to the medications used in the injection. It is important to inform your healthcare provider of any allergies you may have.
  4. Nerve damage: Although rare, there is a small risk of nerve damage during the injection. This risk is minimized through the use of fluoroscopy or X-ray guidance.

It is essential to discuss the potential risks and side effects with your healthcare provider before undergoing a facet joint injection.

Preparing for a facet joint injection

Before undergoing a facet joint injection, your healthcare provider will provide you with specific instructions to ensure a successful procedure. These instructions may include:

  1. Medication adjustments: Your healthcare provider may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the injection to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  2. Fasting: You may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for a certain period before the procedure. This helps to minimize the risk of complications during the injection.
  3. Transportation: Since a facet joint injection involves the use of anesthetic medication, you may be advised not to drive yourself home after the procedure. It is recommended to arrange for transportation.

Following these instructions will help ensure a smooth and safe facet joint injection procedure.

The facet joint injection procedure

The facet joint injection procedure typically follows these steps:

  1. Positioning: You will be asked to lie on your stomach or side on an X-ray table. The healthcare provider will clean and sterilize the injection site.
  2. Numbing the area: A local anesthetic will be applied to the skin to numb the area around the injection site. This helps to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
  3. Fluoroscopy guidance: Using fluoroscopy or X-ray guidance, the healthcare provider will insert a thin needle into the facet joint.
  4. Injecting the medication: Once the needle is in the correct position, the medication mixture of anesthetic and corticosteroid will be injected into the joint.
  5. Post-injection observation: After the injection, you will be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no immediate complications or side effects.

The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes, and you can typically go home the same day.

Recovery and post-injection care

After a facet joint injection, it is common to experience some soreness or discomfort at the injection site. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication or a cold compress. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding pain management and any activity restrictions.

In the days following the injection, you may notice a gradual improvement in your pain levels. The effects of the injection can vary from person to person, but many individuals experience significant pain relief for several weeks to months.

It is essential to communicate with your healthcare provider about your pain levels and any changes you experience after the injection. This information will help them determine the effectiveness of the injection and guide any further treatment options.

Conclusion: Is facet joint injection right for you?

Living with chronic joint pain can significantly impact your daily life and overall well-being. If traditional pain management methods have not provided the relief you need, it may be time to consider a breakthrough solution like facet joint injection.

Facet joint injections offer targeted pain relief by delivering medication directly to the affected joint. They have been found to be highly effective in reducing pain and improving overall joint function in individuals suffering from facet joint-related conditions.

While facet joint injections are generally safe and well-tolerated, it is important to discuss the procedure with your healthcare provider to understand the potential risks and benefits. They can assess your specific condition and determine if facet joint injection is a suitable treatment option for you.

Don’t let joint pain hold you back from living a full and active life. Consider the breakthrough solution of facet joint injection and experience the relief you deserve. Say goodbye to chronic joint pain and hello to a pain-free future. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Are you suffering from chronic pain that seems to never go away? Have you tried countless treatments and remedies, with little to no relief? If so, it’s time to discover the ultimate solution: Radiofrequency ablation. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of Radiofrequency ablation, exploring how it works, its benefits, and what to expect during the procedure.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has been hailed as a game-changer in pain management. By using electrical currents to generate heat, RFA can selectively target and destroy nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals, providing long-lasting relief. Whether you suffer from arthritis, herniated discs, or any other conditions causing chronic pain, RFA offers hope and renewed possibilities.

Follow along as we break down the entire process, from the initial consultation to post-procedure care. Learn about the potential side effects, recovery time, and whether you are a suitable candidate for RFA. Say goodbye to chronic pain and hello to a life free from suffering. Let’s embark on this journey together to discover the transformative power of Radiofrequency ablation.

What is Radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical currents to generate heat and target nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals. This technique involves the use of a specialized needle-like electrode that is inserted near the affected area. The electrode emits radiofrequency energy, which creates heat and destroys the targeted nerve tissue. By interrupting the pain signals, RFA provides relief and improves the quality of life for individuals suffering from chronic pain.

Radiofrequency ablation is often used to treat conditions such as arthritis, herniated discs, facet joint pain, and many other chronic pain conditions. It is a non-surgical alternative to more invasive procedures and can provide long-lasting pain relief.

The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home on the same day. It is generally well-tolerated and has a low risk of complications. However, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if RFA is the right treatment option for your specific condition.

How does Radiofrequency ablation work?

Radiofrequency ablation works by using electrical currents to heat and destroy nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Once the area is numbed, a small incision is made, and a specialized needle-like electrode is inserted near the targeted nerve. The electrode is connected to a radiofrequency generator, which delivers the electrical currents.

The radiofrequency energy heats up the electrode, causing the surrounding nerve tissue to reach a temperature that destroys its ability to transmit pain signals. The heat generated by the electrode creates a lesion, effectively interrupting the pain pathway. This process provides relief from chronic pain and can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.

It’s important to note that Radiofrequency ablation is not a permanent solution. Over time, the targeted nerve tissue may regenerate, and pain signals may return. However, many patients experience long-lasting pain relief, sometimes lasting for several months or even years. In such cases, the procedure can be repeated to maintain the desired relief.

Conditions that can be treated with Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation has been proven effective in treating a wide range of chronic pain conditions. Some of the most common conditions that can be treated with RFA include:

  1. Arthritis: Radiofrequency ablation can be used to target the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals in arthritic joints. This can provide significant pain relief and improve joint mobility.
  2. Herniated discs: RFA can be used to target the nerves in the spinal discs that are causing pain due to herniation. By destroying these nerves, RFA can alleviate the pain associated with herniated discs.
  3. Facet joint pain: The facet joints in the spine can become a source of chronic pain. RFA can be used to target the nerves in these joints, providing relief and improving mobility.
  4. Chronic back pain: Radiofrequency ablation can be an effective treatment option for individuals suffering from chronic back pain that has not responded to other conservative treatments.
  5. Neuropathic pain: RFA can also be used to treat neuropathic pain conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

It’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if Radiofrequency ablation is a suitable treatment option for your specific condition. They will be able to evaluate your medical history, assess your symptoms, and recommend the most appropriate course of action.

Benefits of Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation offers several benefits for individuals suffering from chronic pain. Some of the key advantages of RFA include:

  1. Long-lasting pain relief: Unlike medications that provide temporary relief, Radiofrequency ablation can provide long-lasting pain relief. Many patients experience relief for several months or even years after the procedure.
  2. Minimally invasive: RFA is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning there is less tissue damage and a lower risk of complications compared to traditional surgery. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia and typically does not require an overnight hospital stay.
  3. Targeted pain relief: Radiofrequency ablation targets the specific nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals. By selectively destroying these nerves, RFA provides targeted pain relief without affecting other areas of the body.
  4. Improved quality of life: Chronic pain can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. By providing relief from pain, RFA can improve mobility, reduce dependence on pain medications, and allow individuals to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
  5. Non-surgical alternative: Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical alternative to more invasive procedures such as surgery. It offers a lower risk, quicker recovery time, and can be repeated if necessary.

It’s important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of Radiofrequency ablation with your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right treatment option for you.

The Radiofrequency ablation procedure

The Radiofrequency ablation procedure typically involves the following steps:

  1. Consultation: The first step is to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who specializes in pain management. During this consultation, your medical history will be evaluated, and a physical examination may be conducted to assess your condition. Diagnostic tests such as X-rays or MRI scans may also be ordered to identify the source of your pain.
  2. Pre-procedure preparations: If Radiofrequency ablation is deemed suitable for your condition, you will be provided with instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This may include fasting for a certain period before the procedure, stopping certain medications, or making necessary arrangements for transportation to and from the healthcare facility.
  3. Procedure day: On the day of the procedure, you will typically be asked to arrive at the healthcare facility a few hours before the scheduled time. You will be taken to a pre-operative area where a nurse will prepare you for the procedure. This may involve changing into a hospital gown and having your vital signs monitored.
  4. Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the procedure will be performed. This will help minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
  5. Electrode placement: Using fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray guidance), the healthcare provider will insert a specialized needle-like electrode near the targeted nerve. The exact placement of the electrode is crucial to ensure accurate targeting of the pain signals.
  6. Sensory and motor testing: Once the electrode is in place, sensory and motor testing may be performed to ensure that it is correctly positioned near the targeted nerve. This testing involves stimulating the nerve with a gentle electrical current and assessing the patient’s response.
  7. Radiofrequency energy delivery: Once the electrode placement is confirmed, radiofrequency energy will be delivered through the electrode. The energy will heat up the electrode, creating a lesion that destroys the targeted nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals.
  8. Post-procedure care: After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be closely monitored. The healthcare provider will provide instructions on post-procedure care, including pain management, restrictions on activities, and any necessary follow-up appointments.

It’s important to follow all post-procedure instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure proper healing and maximize the benefits of Radiofrequency ablation.

Recovery and aftercare for Radiofrequency ablation

The recovery and aftercare following Radiofrequency ablation are generally straightforward. However, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. Pain management: You may experience some discomfort or soreness at the site of the procedure. Your healthcare provider may prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any post-procedure pain.
  2. Rest and activity restrictions: It’s important to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a few days following the procedure. Your healthcare provider will provide specific guidelines on when you can resume normal activities.
  3. Ice and heat therapy: Applying ice packs to the area of the procedure can help reduce swelling and discomfort. After the initial few days, heat therapy may also be beneficial to promote healing and relieve any residual pain.
  4. Follow-up appointments: Your healthcare provider will schedule a follow-up appointment to assess your progress and ensure proper healing. It’s important to attend these appointments and address any concerns or questions you may have.
  5. Gradual return to activities: As you start to recover, it’s important to gradually return to your normal activities. Listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon. Your healthcare provider will provide guidance on when it is safe to resume specific activities.

Recovery time following Radiofrequency ablation can vary depending on the individual and the specific procedure performed. Some individuals may experience immediate pain relief, while others may require a few weeks to fully recover. It’s important to be patient and give your body time to heal.

Risks and potential side effects of Radiofrequency ablation

While Radiofrequency ablation is considered a safe and effective procedure, like any medical procedure, it does carry some risks and potential side effects. It’s important to discuss these with your healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure. Some of the possible risks and side effects include:

  1. Discomfort or soreness at the site of the procedure: It is common to experience some discomfort or soreness at the site where the electrode was inserted. This can usually be managed with pain medication and typically resolves within a few days.
  2. Infection: Although rare, there is a small risk of infection at the site of the procedure. Your healthcare provider will take precautions to minimize this risk, such as using sterile equipment and following proper infection control procedures.
  3. Nerve damage: While Radiofrequency ablation is designed to target specific nerves, there is a small risk of unintentional damage to nearby nerves. This can result in temporary or permanent changes in sensation or motor function.
  4. Allergic reaction: In rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the local anesthesia or other medications used during the procedure. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider of any known allergies before the procedure.
  5. Regeneration of nerve tissue: Over time, the targeted nerve tissue may regenerate, and pain signals may return. In such cases, the procedure can be repeated to maintain the desired pain relief.

It’s important to weigh the potential risks and benefits of Radiofrequency ablation with your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right treatment option for you.

Success rates and patient testimonials

Radiofrequency ablation has shown promising results in providing long-lasting pain relief for individuals suffering from chronic pain. The success rate of the procedure can vary depending on several factors, including the underlying condition being treated and the individual’s response to the treatment. However, studies have shown that a significant percentage of patients experience a reduction in pain and an improvement in their quality of life following Radiofrequency ablation.

Many patients have shared their testimonials and success stories, highlighting the positive impact of Radiofrequency ablation on their lives. These testimonials often emphasize the long-lasting pain relief, improved mobility, and reduced reliance on pain medications. While individual experiences may vary, these stories provide hope and inspiration for those considering Radiofrequency ablation as a treatment option.

It’s important to remember that every individual is unique, and the response to Radiofrequency ablation may vary. Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional can help determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure and provide you with more information about the potential success rates based on your specific condition.

Alternatives to Radiofrequency ablation

While Radiofrequency ablation can be a highly effective treatment option for chronic pain, it is not suitable for everyone. Depending on your specific condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may recommend alternative treatments. Some of the common alternatives to consider include:

  1. Medications: Depending on the underlying cause of your chronic pain, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. These can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, or other pain-relieving medications.
  2. Physical therapy: Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for many chronic pain conditions. A physical therapist can work with you to develop an individualized exercise program, provide hands-on treatment, and teach you techniques for managing pain.
  3. Injections: In some cases, injections such as corticosteroids or nerve blocks may be recommended to provide temporary pain relief. These injections can help reduce inflammation and block pain signals.
  4. Surgical interventions: Depending on the underlying cause of your chronic pain, surgery may be recommended. Surgical interventions can range from minimally invasive procedures to more extensive surgeries, depending on the specific condition being treated.

It’s important to discuss the available treatment options with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate course of action for your specific condition.

Conclusion: Is Radiofrequency ablation right for you?

Radiofrequency ablation offers hope and renewed possibilities for individuals suffering from chronic pain. By selectively targeting and destroying nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals, RFA can provide long-lasting relief and improve quality of life. Whether you suffer from arthritis, herniated discs, or any other conditions causing chronic pain, Radiofrequency ablation may be a suitable treatment option worth considering.

However, it’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if Radiofrequency ablation is the right treatment option for your specific condition. At Physician Partners of America (PPOA,) we are committed to helping people overcome Radiofrequency ablation and get back to the healthy and active lifestyle we deserve. Our caring and dedicated pain management experts have focused experience helping patients overcome herniated disc pain.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment. Say goodbye to chronic pain.

Are you experiencing persistent neck or back pain? It could be a result of foraminal stenosis, a common condition affecting the spine. In this article, we will delve into understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for foraminal stenosis.

Foraminal stenosis occurs when the openings in the spine, known as foramina, become narrower, putting pressure on the nerves. This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the arms, legs, or other affected areas. Understanding the causes is crucial in managing this condition effectively.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of foraminal stenosis, such as aging, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, bone spurs, and spinal injuries. Identifying the underlying cause is essential in determining the most appropriate treatment.

Treatment options for foraminal stenosis range from conservative measures such as physical therapy and pain medication to more invasive interventions like corticosteroid injections or surgery. The right approach will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the patient’s overall health.

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of foraminal stenosis, you can take a proactive role in managing your condition and finding relief from the debilitating symptoms. Let’s explore this topic further and empower ourselves with the knowledge we need for a healthier spine.

What is foraminal stenosis?

Foraminal stenosis occurs when the openings in the spine, known as foramina, become narrower, putting pressure on the nerves. These foramina are passageways that allow the spinal nerves to exit the spinal column and extend to various parts of the body. When they become constricted or compressed, it can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the arms, legs, or other affected areas.

The narrowing of the foramina can occur due to various factors, such as aging, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, bone spurs, and spinal injuries. Understanding the underlying causes is crucial in managing this condition effectively.

Causes of foraminal stenosis

  1. Aging: As we age, the structures in our spine naturally deteriorate. The discs between the vertebrae lose their elasticity, leading to a reduction in the space available for the nerves to pass through the foramina.
  2. Degenerative disc disease: This condition occurs when the discs in the spine degenerate, leading to a loss of cushioning and height. The reduced disc height can cause the foramina to become narrower, putting pressure on the nerves.
  3. Herniated discs: When a disc in the spine ruptures or bulges, it can protrude into the foramina, causing compression of the spinal nerves. This can result in pain and other symptoms associated with foraminal stenosis.
  4. Bone spurs: Also known as osteophytes, bone spurs are bony outgrowths that can develop along the edges of the vertebrae. These spurs can encroach upon the foramina, leading to narrowing and nerve compression.
  5. Spinal injuries: Traumatic events such as falls, car accidents, or sports injuries can cause damage to the spine, including the foramina. Inflammation and swelling from the injury can lead to foraminal stenosis.

Common symptoms of foraminal stenosis

The symptoms of foraminal stenosis can vary depending on the location and severity of the nerve compression. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Pain: Pain is the most prevalent symptom of foraminal stenosis. It can be localized to the neck or back, or it may radiate down the arms, legs, or buttocks. The pain may worsen with certain movements or activities.
  2. Numbness and tingling: Compression of the nerves can cause sensations of numbness and tingling. These sensations may be felt in the extremities, such as the hands, fingers, feet, or toes.
  3. Weakness: Foraminal stenosis can result in muscle weakness in the affected areas. This can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks or participate in physical activities.
  4. Loss of coordination: In some cases, foraminal stenosis can affect coordination and balance. This may manifest as difficulty walking or a sense of clumsiness.

Diagnosing foraminal stenosis

If you suspect you have foraminal stenosis, it is important to seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will typically perform a thorough physical examination and may order additional tests, such as:

  1. Imaging tests: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans can provide detailed images of the spine, allowing healthcare professionals to visualize any narrowing or compression in the foramina.
  2. Electromyography (EMG): EMG tests measure the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves. This test can help determine if there is nerve damage or compression associated with foraminal stenosis.
  3. Nerve conduction studies: These tests assess the speed and strength of electrical signals traveling along the nerves. They can help identify any disruptions or abnormalities in nerve function.

Non-surgical treatment options for foraminal stenosis

The treatment approach for foraminal stenosis will depend on the severity of symptoms and the patient’s overall health. In many cases, conservative measures can effectively manage the condition. Some non-surgical treatment options include:

  1. Physical therapy: A physical therapist can design specific exercises and stretches to alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles supporting the spine. They may also provide guidance on proper body mechanics and posture.
  2. Pain medication: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with foraminal stenosis. In some cases, stronger medications or muscle relaxants may be prescribed.
  3. Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections can be administered directly into the affected area to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. These injections may be recommended if conservative measures are not providing sufficient relief.
  4. Lifestyle modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage foraminal stenosis symptoms. This may include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms, and practicing good posture.

Surgical treatment options for foraminal stenosis

If non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief or if the symptoms are severe, surgical intervention may be considered. The specific surgical approach will depend on various factors, including the location and extent of nerve compression. Some surgical treatment options for foraminal stenosis include:

  1. Foraminotomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes a portion of the bone or tissue that is causing the narrowing of the foramina. This helps create more space for the nerves to pass through.
  2. Laminectomy: A laminectomy involves removing the entire lamina, which is the bony arch that covers the spinal canal. This procedure enlarges the spinal canal, relieving pressure on the nerves.
  3. Spinal fusion: In some cases, spinal fusion may be necessary to stabilize the spine and prevent further degeneration. This involves fusing two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts or metal hardware.

Rehabilitation and recovery after foraminal stenosis surgery

After surgical intervention for foraminal stenosis, rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the recovery process. Physical therapy is typically recommended to help regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. The therapist will develop a personalized program tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities.

It is important to follow the rehabilitation plan closely and communicate any concerns or setbacks with the healthcare team. With time and consistent effort, most patients can expect improvement in their symptoms and a return to their normal activities.

Lifestyle changes to manage foraminal stenosis

In addition to medical interventions, there are several lifestyle changes that can help manage foraminal stenosis and reduce the risk of further complications. Some lifestyle modifications to consider include:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight can put additional stress on the spine, exacerbating symptoms of foraminal stenosis. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce unnecessary strain on your spine and improve overall function.
  2. Practicing good posture: Poor posture can contribute to spinal misalignment and increase the risk of nerve compression. Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, especially when sitting or standing for extended periods. Use ergonomic chairs and supportive pillows to maintain proper alignment.
  3. Engaging in regular exercise: Regular exercise, with the guidance of a healthcare professional, can strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and improve flexibility. Low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, or yoga can be beneficial for individuals with foraminal stenosis.
  4. Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms: Certain activities, such as heavy lifting, repetitive bending, or high-impact sports, can worsen symptoms of foraminal stenosis. It is important to identify and avoid these triggers to prevent further damage.

Preventing foraminal stenosis

While it may not be possible to prevent foraminal stenosis entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing this condition or mitigate its severity. Some preventive measures include:

  1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking can help promote spinal health and reduce the risk of degenerative conditions.
  2. Practicing proper body mechanics: When lifting heavy objects or performing physical tasks, it is important to use proper body mechanics to minimize strain on the spine. Bend at the knees, keep the back straight, and distribute weight evenly.
  3. Using ergonomic equipment: Whether at work or home, using ergonomic equipment such as chairs, desks, and keyboards can help maintain proper posture and reduce strain on the spine.
  4. Seeking early treatment for spine-related issues: If you experience persistent neck or back pain, seeking early medical evaluation and treatment can help identify and address any underlying issues before they worsen.

Conclusion

Foraminal stenosis can be a debilitating condition, but with a comprehensive understanding of its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can take a proactive role in managing your condition. From conservative measures to surgical interventions, there are various approaches available to alleviate pain and improve function. By making lifestyle changes and adopting preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of developing foraminal stenosis or mitigate its impact on your life. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. Take charge of your spinal health and find relief from the debilitating symptoms of foraminal stenosis.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Whether it is mild, moderate or severe, herniated disc pain can have a major impact on your life. From relationships to favorite hobbies, dealing with herniated disc pain and related symptoms can make it difficult to spend time with the people you love and do the things you need to do. 

This guide will help you understand what causes herniated disc pain, how to recognize the symptoms and the best treatment and preventative steps to find the relief you deserve. By providing basic educational information, our goal is to help you take a more active role in your care and achieve a healthy lifestyle.  

What Is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc happens when the soft inner material of a spinal disc begins to push out through a tear or weak spot in the tougher outer layer. Herniated discs most commonly develop in the lower (lumbar) spine or upper (cervical) spine because these discs undergo more pressure than the discs in the middle (thoracic) spinal region. 

Herniated discs are common and become more likely to develop as we get older and the spinal discs are less able to withstand stress. Herniated disc pain can occur due to irritation on the disc itself or as a result of nerve compression by the herniated disc. 

 

Herniated Disc Pain Symptoms

A herniated disc is not necessarily painful. In fact, many people have this condition for years without being aware of it. Local herniated disc pain can happen when herniated disc material irritates nerves on the surface of the disc. More severe pain is usually the result of the herniated disc irritating or compressing the spinal cord or adjacent nerve roots in the spinal column. 

Nerve compression can result in the following herniated disc pain symptoms:

  • Shooting pains into the upper or lower extremities
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

The location of the herniated disc typically affects where patients experience symptoms. For example, a herniated disc in the lumbar spine can generally cause herniated disc pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips and legs. When a lumbar herniated disc compresses the sciatic nerve that travels into the lower body, these symptoms are known as sciatica.  

A herniated disc in the cervical spine will often result in neck pain as well as shooting pains and radiating symptoms in the arms and hands. Compression of the spinal cord by a cervical herniated disc can also result in lower body symptoms. 

In rare cases, a herniated disc can cause a serious condition known as cauda equina syndrome which is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing herniated disc pain accompanied by weakness or paralysis in the lower extremities, sexual problems and urinary or bowel incontinence should seek immediate medical attention. 

 

Herniated Disc Pain Causes

The discs cushion and separate the vertebrae in the spinal column, acting as shock absorbers and enabling movement like bending and flexing. Over time, a combination of everyday stress and pressure and natural degenerative forces that dry out the discs can lead to conditions such as bulging and herniated discs. Another significant contributor can be injuries, such as overexertion from lifting or high impact trauma such as a car accident. 

Herniated discs typically when the tough outer layer of the disc becomes dry and brittle, leading to the development of cracks. Continued stress or injury can cause these smaller cracks to become larger tears. Eventually, the soft inner material of a spinal disc will begin to push out through this tear. 

 

Can You Prevent Herniated Disc Pain?

Because herniated discs are very often caused by age-related degeneration, there is no way to completely prevent them from occurring. The following steps can help anyone significantly lower the risk of herniated discs and herniated disc pain: 

  • Practice good posture and lifting technique
  • Eat a healthy nutrient rich diet and stay hydrated
  • Stay active and get regular exercise, especially core strengthening exercises
  • Take steps to manage weight, as carrying excess body weight increases pressure on the discs
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Even if you have already been diagnosed with a herniated disc, these steps can still help prevent herniated disc pain from developing further or becoming worse. 

 

Herniated Disc Pain Diagnosis and Treatment

When encountering potential herniated disc pain, doctors will usually review medical history, ask questions about symptoms and perform a physical examination to diagnose the condition. Diagnostic imagery such as an MRI may also be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. 

Herniated disc pain treatment usually begins with conservative therapies, including:

  • Rest
  • Hot and cold compression therapy, such as alternating a heating pad and an ice pack
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication
  • Lifestyle management steps, including postural therapy, weight management and nutritional counseling
  • Physical therapy
  • Interventional pain management, including epidural steroid injections

Herniated disc pain that does not respond to conservative therapies may benefit from spine surgery. Minimally invasive procedures have been developed that can remove herniated disc material that is causing nerve compression. By using muscle sparing techniques and a small incision, these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis and with less risk of complication and a shorter recovery compared to traditional open spine procedures. 

From Interventional Pain Management to Surgery, PPOA Can Help Herniated Disc Pain

At Physician Partners of America (PPOA,) we are committed to helping people overcome pain and get back to the healthy and active lifestyle we deserve. Our caring and dedicated pain management experts have focused experience helping patients overcome herniated disc pain. 

We can help you identify the source of your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan that is right for your specific needs and treatment goals. From interventional pain management to minimally invasive spine surgery, we can help you find lasting relief at any stage of your treatment journey. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your first appointment. 

The aches, pains and stiffness that come with facet joint disease affects millions of people each year, ranging from a moderate challenge to a debilitating condition that negatively impacts nearly every part of life. Routine activities, from working around the house to spending time with friends or participating in sports, can become difficult or even impossible to accomplish. If you are living with facet joint disease, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that effective treatment is possible. 

For many people, receiving an accurate diagnosis of the sources of pain and a personalized treatment plan are critical steps on the road to relief and a healthy, active lifestyle. This informative overview can help anyone understand the basics of facet joint disease and work more closely with providers to find the relief they deserve. 

 

Facet Joint Disease Explained

Also known by terms such as facet disease, facet syndrome or facet arthritis, facet joint disease is a condition where the facet joints in the spine become painful and stiff, often due to age-related factors. In the spine, most of the vertebrae have two pairs of facet joints that link with the vertebrae above and below. Together, the facet joints enable the spine to bend and flex while allowing it to be strong enough to support the upper body and protect the spinal cord. 

Like other joints in the body, the facet joints are protected by a layer of cartilage and lubricated by joint fluid that reduces friction. If the cartilage wears down and the joint fluid dries out, it can cause increased friction and inflammation in the facet joints, leading to facet joint disease and associated symptoms. 

 

What Causes Facet Joint Disease?

The primary cause of facet joint disease is the natural aging process, but other factors including injury and autoimmune diseases can also cause the condition. Age-related facet disease, a form of osteoarthritis, occurs when cartilage naturally becomes drier and more brittle over time. The increased bone-on-bone contact inflames the facet joints, causing pain and stiffness. 

Facet joint disease is most common in the cervical spine in the neck and lumbar spine in the lower back. This is because these regions are more flexible and undergo more stress than the thoracic (middle) spine. 

 

Facet Joint Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of facet joint disease can vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Frequent symptoms include:

  • Stiffness in the neck or back
  • Aches and pains in the neck or back
  • A grinding or popping sensation in the joints, known as crepitus

In addition to localized symptoms, swollen and inflamed facet joints can also put pressure on surrounding nerves, causing radiating pinched nerve symptoms including:

  • Shooting pains into the upper or lower extremities
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

Facet joint disease symptoms can be similar to other spine conditions, which is why a thorough and accurate diagnosis is needed to ensure proper treatment. 

 

Diagnosing Facet Joint Disease

To find the source of symptoms and reach a diagnosis for facet joint disease, doctors generally take the following steps:

  • Review medical history
  • Discuss symptoms and ask how they are affecting movement and activity
  • Perform a physical evaluation including a hands-on examination of painful areas and movement and posture tests
  • Order diagnostic testing and imagery, including X-ray and MRI 

In some cases, diagnostic tests such as nerve blocks may be ordered to pinpoint the exact location of symptoms. By injecting a numbing agent into the facet joint that is believed to be causing pain, providers can confirm it as the source of facet joint disease if the patient experiences relief. 

 

Facet Joint Disease Treatments

Upon diagnosis, many doctors will recommend an initial course of conservative therapies including rest, ice, a heating pad, cold compression therapy and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and regular moderate exercise, many people are able to manage facet joint disease with basic therapeutic measures. 

If symptoms persist or worsen, more involved treatment may be attempted including:

Severe cases of facet joint disease that do not respond to nonsurgical therapies, especially if nerve compression is involved, can benefit from surgical intervention. With advances in surgical technology and technique, surgeons can treat facet joint disease with a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure. Common surgical techniques include ablation procedures that carefully burn painful nerves in the facet joints, as well as procedures to remove damaged spinal material, such as bone spurs, that are causing nerve compression. 

 

Contact PPOA Today to Start Your Facet Joint Disease Treatment Journey

Whether you are dealing with mild, moderate or severe facet joint disease pain, the caring team at Physician Partners of America (PPOA) can help. Our expert pain management specialists can help you find the exact sources of your symptoms and develop an individualized care plan that puts you on the path to relief. We are passionate about helping people get their lives back from pain and regain the healthy, active lifestyle they deserve. 

 

Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment. 

Many people recovering from an injury, trauma or surgery find themselves dealing with causalgia pain. This highly debilitating and often mysterious condition can have a devastating impact on quality of life and the ability to work, spend time with loved ones and perform basic activities. While it can feel hopeless, there are effective options that can help anyone find relief. 

By learning more about this condition, including the causes, symptoms and treatments, you can take control of your causalgia pain relief journey and get back to the life you deserve. 

What Is Causalgia Pain?

Causalgia pain is a form of the condition known as complex regional pain syndrome. Specifically, it is complex regional pain syndrome type II (CRPS II). In contrast to CRPS type I, which typically does not involve a direct injury to the nerves, CRPS II usually develops as a result of some form of nerve damage. This disorder of the neurological system can lead to severe pain that persists on a chronic basis. While causalgia pain is extremely rare, it still affects thousands of people in the United States alone. 

 

Causes of Causalgia Pain

Causalgia pain commonly develops due to injury or trauma to the peripheral nerves. These are the nerves that branch off of the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, sending sensory and motor information around the body. Because of this, Causalgia pain can occur nearly anywhere in the body, particularly the arms and hands and the feet and legs. 

Primary causes of peripheral nerve injuries that can trigger causalgia include:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains and strains
  • Burns, including chemical and electrical burns
  • Physical trauma, such as crushes or blows
  • Surgery, particularly if there are complications

Medical researchers are still working to learn about the connection of these types of injuries to long-term causalgia pain. One possibility is hypersensitivity in the linings of peripheral nerve tissues that respond to the inflammatory markers present after injury or trauma.  

 

Causalgia Symptoms

People experiencing causalgia pain typically describe it as an intense burning or electrical pain that persists for months or longer. This pain usually occurs along the pathway of the damaged peripheral nerve. In addition to severe pain, other common causalgia pain symptoms include:

  • Pins and needles sensations known as paresthesia
  • Sensitive skin in the area of injury
  • Discoloration and changes to skin pigment
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling in the extremities
  • Abnormal sweating

These symptoms can impact nearly every area of life, making nearly any activity difficult or even impossible due to the constant discomfort. 

 

Diagnosing and Treating Causalgia Pain

Due to its rarity and disproportionate amount of pain compared to the original injury, causalgia pain can be difficult to diagnose. Anyone experiencing these symptoms persistently should see a doctor or pain specialist for an extensive evaluation including review of medical history, careful physical examination, and diagnostic testing including X-ray, MRI and nerve conductivity tests. Often diagnosis involves eliminating more common conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Upon diagnosis of causalgia, basic treatments such as over-the-counter medication and hot and cold therapy may be recommended as a starting point. If symptoms don’t respond to basic initial treatment, more involved therapies are often attempted, including: 

  • Physical therapy
  • Certain medications, including steroids, anticonvulsants, and pain relievers
  • Interventional pain management, including nerve blocks and anti-inflammatory injections 
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve root stimulation (TENS,) which uses a gentle electrical current to disrupt pain signals
  • Alternative therapies, including meditation and breathing exercises to help manage pain

Finding the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes can take some time. It is important to be persistent and maintain a positive attitude as you work with your treatment team to find relief. Additionally, healthy lifestyle choices such as getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help improve overall health, potentially including nerve function, and help with managing causalgia pain. 

If You’re Living with Causalgia Pain, PPOA Can Help

The caring and dedicated team at Physician Partners of America — PPOA — offers a range of effective options for relieving causalgia pain, including nerve blocks, anti-inflammatory injections and pain pumps. We are dedicated to patient-centered care and work with each patient to understand their treatment needs and wellness goals. To learn more about your pain relief options and creating an individualized pain management plan with one of our experts, contact us today.

For many people dealing with chronic neck and back pain, spine surgery is seen as a treatment of last resort. But if weeks or months of nonsurgical therapies have not brought relief and pain begins to disrupt quality of life, it can start to become a serious consideration. 

Why do so many people want to delay or avoid spine surgery? Because in the past, traditional open spine surgery usually meant a large incision, significant muscle disruption and a long, difficult recovery period. 

But now thanks to minimally invasive laser spine surgery, it is possible to find lasting relief from a range of spine conditions through an outpatient, muscle-sparing approach. If you have heard about laser spine surgery but have questions, this helpful guide will tell you everything you need to know about these exciting procedures.  

What Is Laser Spine Surgery? 

The term “laser spine surgery” is often used as a general substitute for a range of minimally invasive procedures used to relieve pain related to spine conditions. In particular, laser spine surgery describes minimally invasive decompression surgeries that relieve nerve compression, or a pinched nerve, by removing displaced spinal tissue. Laser spine surgery can include specific procedures such as microdiscectomy, laminotomy and facet thermal ablation

Thanks to the advancement of state-of-the-art surgical technology and specialized techniques, spine surgeons are now able to access the spine using a much smaller incision, often less than one inch, compared to traditional open spine surgery. Additionally, laser spine surgery will often use muscle sparing techniques that help to limit damage to surrounding soft tissue. This can help to shorten the recovery period and limit the risk of complications such as bleeding and infection. 

 

How Is the Laser Used? 

Medical lasers play a key role in laser spine surgery, but not as big of a role as many people think. In most procedures, surgeons will make a small incision with a scalpel and other surgical tools to access the treatment site, and use endoscopic technology and high definition monitors to view the area and perform the procedure. The surgeon may use the laser to remove small amounts of displaced or damaged spine material. In a facet thermal ablation, the surgeon will use a laser to carefully ablate painful nerve endings that cause facet joint pain. 

 

How Long Does the Procedure Last?

The length of a laser spine surgery depends on the specific procedure and individual patient factors. Many surgeries can be performed in as little as 60 to 90 minutes. Because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, laser spine surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, with patients returning home or to a hotel once released. 

 

What Conditions Does Laser Spine Surgery Treat?

Laser spine surgery can treat a number of degenerative spine conditions that cause spinal nerve compression and related symptoms such as local pain, radiating pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and limited mobility. Conditions treated by minimally invasive laser spine surgery include: 

It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis and a thorough evaluation before undergoing laser spine surgery. 

 

Who Is a Candidate for Laser Spine Surgery? 

Candidates for laser spine surgery will have a spine condition that is causing chronic, debilitating pain due to nerve compression and have not found relief from a full course of conservative therapies. For a large number of patients, options such as physical therapy or interventional pain management can be highly effective in achieving the relief necessary for a good quality of life. 

Patients considering laser spine surgery will need to undergo a full medical screening and evaluation to ensure they are able to undergo the procedure and that there is an operable condition that has been positively identified as the source of symptoms. 

 

What Is the Recovery Process for Laser Spine Surgery?

Your laser spine surgery provider will provide detailed instructions on what to expect before and after the procedure. Many patients are up and walking within hours of the procedure and can resume light activities within days. 

Full recovery and return to work times depend on the condition, procedure and individual patient factors. Some patients recovering from laser spine surgery can be back at work in a manner of weeks. It is critical to follow all postsurgical instructions for caring for the surgical site and resuming activities to ensure a safe and speedy recovery. 

 

Laser Spine Surgery at Physician Partners of America

The highly skilled surgeons at Physician Partners of America (PPOA) are among the pioneers of laser spine surgery procedures. Our minimally invasive spine procedures can be performed with a less than one inch incision, compared to five inches or more used in traditional open spine surgery. At our state-of-the-art outpatient facilities we help patients dealing with a wide range of conditions find long-term relief and a return to an active lifestyle.

 

Contact PPOA Today

We are committed to helping people achieve a pain-free life. If you have fully explored nonsurgical options and want to find out if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive laser spine surgery, contact our caring team today

For back pain sufferers, the discomfort and limited mobility that comes with it can severely limit your quality of life and make it difficult to enjoy the people and activities you love. When basic treatments such as rest, over-the-counter medications, cold packs and heating pads no longer bring relief, more intensive pain management therapies become an option. An increasingly popular choice is spinal cord stimulation, which uses a small device that sends gentle electrical currents to relieve back pain. 

If you are wondering if spinal cord stimulation is right for you and want to learn more about the benefits as well as potential side effects and the precautions to take, this guide can help. By learning more about the process of spinal cord stimulation, you can make an active and informed decision for your pain relief. 

What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation uses a gentle electrical pulse sent to the epidural space, or area between the spinal cord and the surrounding vertebrae, to relieve pain. Spinal cord stimulation can help with a range of conditions, including lower back pain, degenerative spine conditions, arachnoiditis, spinal cord injuries and complex regional pain syndrome. Although researchers are working to fully understand how it works, spinal cord stimulation basically overrides pain signals being sent to the brain with the sensation of paresthesia created by the gentle electrical current. 

Spinal cord stimulators usually consist of thin electrodes connected to a small power pack that is implanted in the body. The implant connects to a wireless remote control that enables the patient to activate the device when they feel pain. 

Before a spinal cord stimulator is permanently implanted, most people will undergo a trial period. During the trial, the electrodes are attached to the spinal cord, but the power pack and antenna remain outside the body. If the stimulation is effective in providing relief during the trial period, the power pack will then be implanted permanently in a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure. 

 

Spinal Cord Stimulator Benefits

There are a range of potential benefits that spinal cord stimulation can offer, including:

  • Lasting pain relief
  • Reduced need for medication
  • Improved mobility and activity level
  • Better sleep duration and quality
  • Improved overall quality of life
  • Can help patients delay or avoid the need for spine surgery

Spinal cord stimulation can be used with other interventional pain management techniques. In fact, integrating spinal cord stimulation with a comprehensive plan that includes physical therapy, pain management injections, relaxation and meditation techniques and therapeutic exercise can help provide long-term relief for back pain. 

 

Understanding the Potential Side Effects of Spinal Cord Stimulation

Although spinal cord stimulation is non-medicinal and generally considered safe, there are risks and potential side effects that anyone considering this treatment should be aware of. Although rare, side effects of spinal cord stimulators can include: 

  • Infection or rejection of the device
  • Device migration, which is when the electrodes move from the initial location and begin providing less effective pain relief
  • Puncture of the dura surrounding the spinal cord during implantation, which can result in spinal fluid leaking 
  • Damage to the device due to a fall or injury

After having a spinal cord stimulator implanted, patients should follow all recovery and use instructions given by their surgical provider and attend all follow up appointments. Patients should also contact a doctor or surgical provider at the first sign of any complications, including fever, nausea, headaches and swelling or bleeding at the surgical site. 

 

What Precautions Should Anyone Using a Spinal Cord Stimulator Take? 

In general, a spinal cord stimulator can be used with minimal restrictions and precautions, but there are guidelines that can help improve safety and maximize the effectiveness of the device. Your spinal cord stimulator provider will give you detailed instructions for care and use of both the trial device and the permanent device. Here are a few examples of typical spinal cord stimulation precautions patients are advised to be aware of:

  • During the trial period, the external power pack cannot get wet, so swimming, showering, and vigorous exercise need to be avoided for this short time
  • Swimming, bathing and vigorous exercise can all be performed with the permanent device
  • Spinal cord stimulators can interfere with certain electronic and magnetic devices, and will need to be shut down while driving 
  • Spinal cord stimulators must be turned off when undergoing imaging such as an X-ray or CT scan, and they are not compatible with MRI machinery
  • Spinal cord stimulators can set off airport security gates and patients are generally given identification to help expedite airport security screenings

Spinal cord stimulators can be safely removed in the event of complications or if they no longer provide adequate relief. 

Contact PPOA Today

If you are dealing with chronic back pain and are considering pain management options, the caring team at Physician Partners of America is here to help. From pain relieving anti-inflammatory injections to spinal cord stimulation to minimally invasive spine surgery, we can help anyone at any stage of treatment find the relief they deserve. We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that is right for your unique circumstances so you can get back to a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

Like any other spine condition, spondylolisthesis is a diagnosis that most people would like to prevent if at all possible. Although not always painful, especially in less severe cases, spondylolisthesis can be a source of back pain, spinal instability and mobility problems for the people it affects. It isn’t possible to completely prevent spondylolisthesis from developing, but one of the best steps anyone can take is to practice a lifestyle that promotes and maintains a healthy spine. 

By learning about the causes and symptoms of spondylolisthesis, as well as practical tips for keeping a healthy spine, you can lower your chances of dealing with this condition — or limiting its progress if you have been diagnosed.  

 

Spondylolisthesis Explained

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one of the vertebrae in the spinal column begins to slip out over the one beneath it. This can cause instability in the spine as well as pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root. Spondylolisthesis usually happens in the lower, or lumbar, region of the spine due to the constant stress this area undergoes every day. 

Spondylolisthesis is usually graded on a scale of one to five, depending on the level of severity. Level one represents minor slippage, while level five is almost total slippage and vertebral displacement. 

 

Understanding the Causes of Spondylolisthesis

There are multiple types of spondylolisthesis, and each type is generally related to an underlying cause. The most common types and causes of spondylolisthesis include: 

  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis: Caused by age-related breakdown of the spinal discs and connective tissue.
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Usually develops as a result of a fracture in the spinal joint that causes the vertebral slippage.
  • Congenital spondylolisthesis: Is vertebral slippage related to a birth defect in the spine that causes a misalignment. 

Other causes of spondylolisthesis can include traumatic injury, conditions such as osteoporosis, tumors and postsurgical complications. 

 

Spondylolisthesis Symptoms

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity and cause of spondylolisthesis, but can include: 

  • Lower back pain
  • Stiffness and limited mobility
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neuropathic symptoms, including tingling and numbness in the feet and toes

Anyone experiencing possible symptoms of spondylolisthesis for more than a few days to a week at the most should see a doctor or pain management specialist for immediate diagnosis and treatment. Spondylolisthesis is a progressive condition and preventing it from worsening requires a proactive approach that includes following recommended treatments and committing to a spine healthy lifestyle. 

 

Four Tips for Maintaining Spine Health to Prevent or Manage Spondylolisthesis

There is no way to completely prevent the development of spondylolisthesis. Factors such as aging, genetics and birth defects all contribute to this condition regardless of other steps that are taken. The best thing anyone can do to prevent spondylolisthesis or prevent the condition from progressing is to take steps that increase overall spine health and slow down natural degeneration as much as possible. 

Here are four practical tips for a spine healthy lifestyle:

1. Exercise regularly to increase flexibility and strengthen supporting muscles

One of the biggest contributors to spine conditions including spondylolisthesis is a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise, including a mixture of cardiovascular exercise and strength training, can help strengthen the muscles and connective tissue that hold up the spine. This in turn decreases stress on the vertebrae, discs and joints, which can potentially slow the degeneration that can lead to vertebral slippage and other conditions such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease. Even something as simple as 20 minutes of walking, gentle stretching and planking a few times a week can make a huge difference. 

2. Eat a healthy diet

The food we eat has a big impact on spine health. For example, a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats and sugar can increase inflammation while decreasing bone and muscle health. In contrast, eating a diet rich in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and unsaturated fats are associated with a reduced inflammatory response, stronger muscles and more durable bones all of which can help reduce the risk of spondylolisthesis and other spine conditions. It is also essential to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated while minimizing intake of sugary beverages and alcohol. 

3. Maintain a healthy weight 

Carrying extra weight adds to the stress on the spine. Even losing just a few pounds can make a difference on the pressure that is put on the discs, joints and vertebrae in the spinal column. Reducing calorie intake, eating a nutrient rich, whole food diet and getting regular exercise can all work together to help anyone achieve a weight loss plan. This in turn can promote a more stable spine that is less prone to spondylolisthesis and other spinal problems. 

4. Practice good posture and ergonomics

Reducing stress and wear and tear on the spine is something that can be done throughout the day to help prevent or manage spondylolisthesis. Practicing good posture while standing and sitting helps to even out pressure and minimize the impact on individual areas of the spine. While at work, be mindful of your spine while performing any repetitive physical movements and always lift with your legs. You can also work on spine health while sleeping by using a supportive mattress and pillow and getting a good night’s sleep each night. 

 

Contact PPOA to Learn More About Spondylolisthesis Prevention and Treatment

If diagnosed, spondylolisthesis is usually treatable with conservative therapies including rest, over-the-counter medication, physical therapy and interventional pain management steps such as anti-inflammatory injections or nerve blocks. Surgery can become an option if conservative therapies are not effective for managing symptoms or for severe grades of spondylolisthesis. 

No matter where you are on your therapeutic journey for spondylolisthesis, Physician Partners of America (PPOA) can help. From prevention to interventional pain management to minimally invasive spine surgery, our caring experts will assist you in developing a personalized plan that fits your needs, treatment goals and lifestyle. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment.

Spinal stenosis sounds like a serious condition, and it certainly can be, but it is also surprisingly common, affecting millions of people in the United States each year. The underlying causes of spinal stenosis are usually age-related and related by natural changes that affect all of us. For people living with spinal stenosis, the pain can be debilitating and seriously affect quality of life. 

The good news is that spinal stenosis pain is often manageable through a combination of basic therapies and a spine healthy lifestyle. If you are living with spinal stenosis or researching the causes of pain, and want to find relief and improve your quality of life, this comprehensive guide can help. 

 

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis describes narrowing in the spinal column, which is what the term literally means. This condition is not necessarily painful, and some degree of spinal stenosis happens to nearly everyone at certain times, especially with age. Spinal stenosis can become painful and affect quality of life when narrowing constricts nerve pathways and causes nerve compression, also known as a pinched nerve. 

Although spinal stenosis can happen at any level of the spine, it is most common in the upper (cervical) spine in the neck and the lower (lumbar) spine. This is because these regions are more flexible and experience more wear and tear compared to the fixed middle (thoracic) region of the spine. 

 

What Causes Spinal Stenosis? 

Spinal stenosis can be caused by a wide range of underlying conditions that displace anatomy in the spine and cause narrowing in the already tight nerve pathways in the spinal column. In many situations, these conditions are caused by age-related degeneration of the joints, discs and connective tissue that cushions and supports the spine. Spinal stenosis can also be caused by injuries and in rarer cases, growths such as tumors that put pressure on nerves. 

Specific causes of spinal stenosis include: 

In some cases, spinal stenosis can occur at multiple levels of the spine and/or be caused by a combination of factors. 

 

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis? 

Spinal stenosis symptoms can vary by the location of the narrowing, the underlying condition and the extent and severity of the stenosis. Commonly reported symptoms of people living with spinal stenosis include: 

  • Localized neck and/or back pain
  • Shooting pains into the upper or lower extremities
  • Neuropathic symptoms, such as tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms

For symptoms that persist for longer than a few days or for pain that becomes severe, it is important to see a doctor or pain management specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Identifying spinal stenosis and the underlying cause typically requires a physical examination, review of medical history, questions about symptoms, movement tests and diagnostic imagery such as an MRI. 

 

How Does a Spine Healthy Lifestyle Help Spinal Stenosis Pain?

Certain risk factors, such as poor posture, an overly sedentary lifestyle and being overweight can increase the chances of developing spinal stenosis and potentially increase the severity of symptoms. Focusing on overall health and the health of the spine can help reduce stress on the spine and have a positive effect on pain management. Components of a spine healthy lifestyle include: 

  • Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet
  • Staying active and doing regular exercise that increases cardiovascular fitness and strengthens critical supporting muscles
  • Managing weight
  • Avoiding tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Practicing good posture when sitting, standing and sleeping

While a healthy lifestyle can be very effective, more severe cases of spinal stenosis may require a combination of conservative treatments and interventional pain management to enable a good quality of life. 

 

What Are My Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis?

Doctors and pain management specialists will generally begin with basic therapies for spinal stenosis cases. This can include rest, over-the-counter medication, alternating a heating pad with a cold compress and performing gentle stretches. If symptoms do not respond to initial therapies, or get worse, additional interventions may be recommended, including:

Spine surgery may be recommended for spinal stenosis if weeks or months of nonsurgical therapies have been attempted without finding the relief necessary for a good quality of life. Thanks to the development of minimally invasive procedures, spine surgeons can now relieve spinal stenosis with outpatient procedures that use muscle-sparing techniques and only require a small incision. 

 

Reach Out to PPOA Today for Spinal Stenosis Relief

If you’re living with spinal stenosis and are seeking a better quality of life, Physician Partners of America (PPOA) can help. We specialize in helping patients from all walks of life develop a personalized treatment plan that achieves lasting relief. From interventional pain management to minimally invasive spine surgery, you can find relief no matter where you are on your pain relief journey. 

Contact the dedicated team at PPOA today.