Monthly Archives: September 2014

5 Causes Of Cervical Spine Pain

By | Pain Management Doctors Las Vegas | No Comments

Pain management doctors see a large number of patients suffering from neck pain, particularly cervical spine pain. This type of pain is often caused by certain cervical spine conditions.

These include the following:

1.Foraminal Stenosis

Cervical foraminal stenosis occurs when the cervical space is narrowed. This is usually caused by a joint becoming enlarged and pressing on the nerve root. Since the pain takes years to develop and tends to appear only during certain activities, it is easy for patients to ignore the issue. It can get worse over time, however.

Traction may offer some relief, but in most cases, cervical foraminal stenosis will require surgical intervention.

2. Cervical Osteoarthritis

When the joints in the neck begin to degenerate, pain can occur. This is often referred to as neck arthritis, though the correct terms include cervical spondylosis and cervical Pain Management Doctor Las Vegasosteoarthritis. No matter what name is used, the condition results in headaches that originate in the back of the head, a sensation that is strongest at the beginning and end of the day, but lessens during the day and radiating discomfort in the shoulder or shoulder blades.

Upon examination, the doctor may notice bone spurs in the neck. These often press on nerves, causing the pain. The usual treatment is to take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen and to rest when the pain is bad. Muscle relaxants and cortisone injections can be helpful, as well as traction to reduce the pressure on the neck.

3. Stenosis with Myelopathy

Cervical stenosis with myelopathy tends to occur mostly in the elderly. The condition is progressive and gradually tightens the spinal canal and pinches the spinal cord. This is more serious than the previously mentioned foraminal stenosis, because it will affect the entire body.

As the spine becomes more compressed, the patient will notice pain in their arms and legs, often sharp and shooting, similar to electrical shocks. Fine motor skills may be lost and it gradually becomes more and more difficult to walk, as the legs feel heavy and numb. Surgical spinal decompression is the only known treatment for this condition.

4. Degenerative Disc Disease

Cervical degenerative disc disease is characterized by the discs in the neck becoming worn out and thin. This can cause injury as the bone rubs against bone. Unfortunately, discs cannot repair themselves as they have no blood supply of their own. Pain management doctors will likely prescribe NSAIDs and heat compresses to reduce discomfort. Certain exercises may also help by strengthening the muscles in the neck. Surgery is a last resort, but may be necessary.

5. Strained Muscles

Perhaps one of the more common causes of neck discomfort is simply overuse. The muscles in the neck can be misused and strained, which causes ongoing tenderness. If not allowed to rest, the muscle ache may become worse.

In this case, rest and ibuprofen are usually more than enough to get the patient on the road to recovery again.

Pain management doctors can help the patient decide which method of treatment is the best option for the type of neck condition they have. While surgery is usually the last method to be tried, it is sometimes the best option if medication cannot help.

3 Ways To Treat Compression Fractures Of The Spine

By | Pain Clinics in Las Vegas | No Comments

Spinal fractures may occur for several reasons, including osteoporosis, cancer or trauma. No matter the original cause, back or neck pain is a main symptom. The pain is usually very sharp or stabbing and located in the lower to mid back, though it can also be felt at the front of the spine in some cases.

Pain clinics can treat compression fractures with one of a few methods. While less invasive methods are attempted as a first resort, surgery is necessary in some cases. Most patients will have success with the methods mentioned here.

1. Pain medication and rest. This may sound overly simple, but in individuals with healthy systems, the body is often able to repair itself. Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the pain and the rest allows the spine to heal.

Pain Clinics In Las VegasThe majority of compression fractures will take 2-3 months to heal with rest. The doctor may recommend wearing a brace, but this is usually limited as it can result in weaker bones overall. If bed rest does not help the spine or if pain is still very severe after eight weeks, doctors may recommend a more invasive procedure.

2. Vertebroplasty. This outpatient procedure is done under local anesthesia in most cases. Some patients require general anesthesia and may end up staying longer in the hospital, depending on how many vertebra are affected.

Vertebroplasty involves injecting bone cement into the crushed or collapsed vertebra while the patient is lying face down on the table. The cement freezes any small particles into place and stabilizes the spine. This can be used on several vertebra, as needed.

The procedure has a 90% success rate, though if it fails, the method may be repeated. It is also low risk for complications and patients will be able to resume normal activities once they have recovered from the injections.

3. Kyphoplasty. This procedure is very similar to verebroplasty, but is best for vertebra that have collapsed too much to be restored with only bone cement. Instead, a small balloon is placed inside the vertebra and is carefully inflated to lift the bone and create a space. This is usually done under local anesthetic in an outpatient clinic.

Cement is injected into the space made by the balloon to create a sturdier support for the bone. Again, this may be repeated in several areas, if necessary. The end result is added height and stability in the fractured area.

Each of these more invasive methods requires bed rest for at least 24 hours after the injections. However, the recovery time is fairly rapid and pain relief occurs in at least 90% of cases. No heavy lifting or strenuous activity is recommended for at least six weeks. Most patients find that they have better mobility than before the procedure, in addition to reduced pain levels.

Pain clinics can work with patients to choose the best option for the patient’s needs. X-rays or an MRI will be necessary to get a better idea of the extent of the fracture and to determine which treatment method will work best.