The Spine & Back Blog

Weight Loss Back PainDropping weight is an important step in preventing and/or reducing back pain. A recent study revealed how shedding extra pounds can prevent disc degeneration in your spine, particularly in the lumbar region. In the study, published by Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers found that disc degeneration is more prevalent and severe among overweight individuals.

Overweight individuals tend to carry more weight in their midsection which can cause the spine to bend forward. This can lead to gradual changes in the spine that can cause spinal issues like disc degeneration.

Eating healthy, minimally processed foods is an excellent way to kick-start your weight loss journey. Also, strengthening the core muscles in your abdomen help to support your spinal column. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that overweight men who exercised for one hour per week reduced their risk of back pain by 20%.

Although a lot of back pain requires medical intervention, a good first step is weight loss. If you’d like more information, please give us a call at: 704-864-5550

Lower Back Pain Exercise

Exercise can be very helpful for dealing with low back pain. When completing these exercises, be gentle. Do not force movement and do not continue if your pain intensifies. If comfortable, repeat these exercises 2-3x per day.

  1. Hamstring: Lying on floor, pull thigh towards your chest to about 90 degrees. Straighten your knee until a stretch is felt in back of thigh. Hold 1 minute. Repeat with opposite leg.
  2. Hip Flexors: Lying on you back, pull one knee to the chest to keep the back flat. Allow the opposite thigh to drop over the edge of the bed. Do not allow the thigh to move away from the midline or rotate. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times each leg.
  3. Knee to Chest: Pull knee into chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in hip and lower back. Hold 15 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg. Repeat 5-10 times each leg
  4. Pelvic Tilt: Flatten back by tightening stomach and buttock muscles. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  5. Tail Wag: On all fours with back maintained in neutral position, gently move hips toward rib cage to side bend trunk. Hold briefly, then alternate and do other side. Repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Cat Cow: On all fours, assume a “hump” back position by arching the back up. Hold briefly and then slowly lower the back into a sagging position. Repeat 10-15 times.
  7. Lumbar Rotation: Slowly rock knees from side to side in a pain free range of motion. Allow back to rotate slightly. Repeat 10-15 times.

*these exercises were recommended by UC Berkeley

Min Invasive Spine SurgeryMinimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an excellent alternative to open spine surgery and often results in quicker recovery times. MISS utilizes significantly smaller incisions causing less harm to surrounding muscle and tissue.

MISS is often used to relieve pressure or stabilize the spine which can be helpful for some patients who suffer from conditions like bone spurs, scoliosis, spinal tumors, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and more.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that MISS can have the following benefits:

  • Reduced scarring from smaller skin incisions which lead to better cosmetic outcomes
  • Reduced blood loss from surgery
  • Reduced risk of muscle damage, since less or no cutting of the muscle is required
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Quicker recovery from surgery
  • Diminished reliance on pain medications after surgery

Your doctor will be able to guide you in determining whether or not minimally invasive spine surgery will be helpful for you. If you are suffering from back pain and would like to see a doctor, please call our office and schedule an appointment today: 704-864-5550

TREATMENT: STEM CELL INJECTIONS

What are Adult Stem Cells?

Adult stem cells were discovered over 40 years ago when researchers found that cells derived from bone marrow had the ability to form various tissues. Adult stem cells are early stage cells that, under the right conditions, are capable of developing into other types of cells and hold the potential to regenerate damaged tissue.

Who is a good candidate?

Your physician will want a history of your injury and a physical examination along with any x-rays, and an MRI. While stem cell therapy may be appropriate for certain conditions, it is not applicable for every condition.  However, it has proven to be a viable option for  individuals suffering from pain.  A good candidate for adult stem cell treatment usually is:

  • A patient that wants to avoid the inherent complications that come with an invasive surgical procedure
  • A pain sufferer that is interested in an option that offers potential for an overall improved quality of life
  • A person who understands that surgery sets off a cascade of further degeneration, and is prepared to benefit from the body’s own regenerative mechanisms.
  • Every patient is different, the success of the stem cell therapy is dependent on the severity of your condition and your body’s response to stem cell therapy.

What is the procedure like?

A basic stem cell procedure lasts about 45 minutes or less. The physician will retrieve bone marrow percutaneously from the iliac crest of the hip (5 minutes). The aspirated bone marrow will then be concentrated into a smaller volume, devoid of plasma and red blood cells (12 minutes). Finally, the physician will deliver your concentrated stem cells back to the target site for regeneration.

 

What is the recovery period?

After a joint injection, you can typically go back to work immediately. It is advised to avoid load-bearing activities for at least 2 weeks. After a disc injection, you should rest for 2-3 days and try to stay off your feet. In any stem cell procedure, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) should be withheld for 72 hours pre-procedure and one week post-procedure.

Which Joints We Treat

  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Shoulder
  • Ankle
  • Wrist

How Do I Prepare For a Stem Cell Procedure

Before the procedure, you should not take any anti-inflammatory medications, for at least 5 days prior to the procedure. (Medications such as Advil, Aleve, Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc.)
 

How Long Will It Take To Feel Relief And Obtain Improved Function Of The Joint

Every patient is different and it also depends on which joint or joints you have had treatment on.  Some patients have had improved mobility and pain relief in as few as 2-3 weeks.  Other patients have seen improvements at 2-3 months.
 

How Long Will I Feel Relief And Maintain Good Function After The Procedure

Since every patient is different, each outcome will also be different.  Studies have shown that adult stem cell treatments on joints have produced better outcomes than traditional treatments and/or surgical procedures. Stem cell therapy has helped patients to post-pone joint replacements and surgeries for many years and some patients have been able to completely avoid surgery or joint replacements all together.
 

Is Stem Cell Therapy FDA Approved

The bone marrow concentrate used for the treatment is drawn from your own hip using an FDA approved device.  Because your own bone marrow is used to obtain your own stem cells, the FDA requirements are met for the definition of the practice of medicine.